Cut heart disease risk in half with a Mediterranean diet

Despite your age, gender or current health condition, eating a Mediterranean diet can potentially cut your heart disease risk in half, according to a new study.

Researchers found that adhering to a Mediterranean diet – traditionally rich in greens, whole grains and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil – has more protective benefits than exercising.

"Our study shows that the Mediterranean diet is a beneficial intervention for all types of people in both genders, in all age groups, and in both healthy people and those with health conditions," said study co-leader Ekavi Georgousopoulou, Ph.D. candidate at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece.

Diet protects health at relatively low cost

The Mediterranean diet has long been associated with a reduced risk for several health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.

"Because the Mediterranean diet is based on food groups that are quite common or easy to find, people around the world could easily adopt this dietary pattern and help protect themselves against heart disease with very little cost," Georgousopoulou said.

For the study, researchers monitored the health of two different groups of adults: those who ate a Mediterranean diet and those who did not.

Even after accounting for heart disease risk factors like family history, gender, age or body mass index, the Mediterranean eaters still came out on top when it came to heart health.

"[The study] ... reveals that the Mediterranean diet has direct benefits for heart health, in addition to its indirect benefits in managing diabetes, hypertension and inflammation," Georgousopoulou said.

Source: EurekAlert

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