A new study has shown that a Mediterranean diet could significantly reduce heart risks.
The Mediterranean diet is generally associated with diets that are prevalent in Italy, Greece, and Spain. It includes large amounts of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, cereals, and legumes as well as moderate amounts of fish, dairy, and wine.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed 7,447 people with cardiovascular risk factors. One-third of them were put on a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, another one-third of them were put on a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, and the last one-third were put on a low-fat diet.
The two-thirds of patients who were on a Mediterranean diet were shown to have substantial reductions in risk for cardiovascular disease. Overall, a Mediterranean diet along with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nut supplements reduced patients' risks of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke by 30%.
The study's researchers claim that these results lend evidence to the hypothesis that a diet high in vegetable fat is more heart-healthy than a low-fat diet. This particular study, researchers said, rejects the notion that a diet must reduce fat intake to improve heart health.
The research was part of the PREDIMED trial, which took place between 2003 and 2011. PREDIMED's goal was to examine the effect of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease.