Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Evidence suggests that elevated levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood after meals, known as postprandial lipemia (PPL), is associated with an increased risk for hardening of the arteries -- a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Numerous population studies have associated the Mediterranean lifestyle -- marked by high intake of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), fiber, legumes, dairy and fish; moderate alcohol intake; and increased amounts of better quality sleep -- with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a new review article published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism explores the effects of the "ingredients" of Mediterranean lifestyle as a whole, specifically on PPL.
Through an extensive review of existing research on the Mediterranean lifestyle, the authors found that many of its features do contribute to positive effects on cardiovascular health. "It seems that most components of the Mediterranean lifestyle may reduce PPL, an important CVD risk factor, with the exception of wine. Although olive oil is a main component of this pattern, preliminary results of studies of several other components -- such as fish, legumes, herbs and physical activity -- are very promising," the researchers wrote. "Studies are needed in order to investigate whether the effect of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its components on PPL mediate the overall well-established protective role of this lifestyle."
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