Med Diet Reduces Heart Disease
Scientists from Spain’s University Rovira i Virgili Medical School have determined that a traditional Mediterranean diet with either a high proportion of olive oil or nuts significantly lowers the risk of heart disease and the hardening of the arteries.
The researchers tested 551 people between 55 and 80 years old who already had signs of cardiovascular disease and hardening of the arteries. They were randomly split into three groups. The first group ate a low-fat diet for three months. The second group ate a traditional Mediterranean diet with 15 liters of virgin olive oil over the three-month period, and the third group ate a traditional Mediterranean diet plus 30 grams of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts per day.
The research found that the two groups that ate traditional Mediterranean diets had significantly reduced levels of cardiovascular disease as indicated by the subjects’ Apo levels and ratios. The women’s risk dropped by nearly 17%, while the men’s cardiovascular risk dropped by 5%.
The apolipoproteins are key markers the risk of cardiovascular disease because they relate directly to the hardening of arteries as a result of LDL oxidation. ApoA-1 is critical to HDL (good) cholesterol levels, while ApoB is a key constituent of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The study showed that both traditional Mediterranean diet groups had an increase in ApoA-1 levels and decreased levels of ApoB. The Apo ratio – also called the total ApoB/ApoA-1 ratio – was also reduced among the two traditional Mediterranean diet groups.
The traditional Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating more fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based foods. It has been acclaimed as one of the most beneficial diets for weight loss and increased longevity.
The diet has also been shown to reduce heart disease risk more effectively than pharmaceutical medications.
This was stressed by Dr Miguel Angel Martínez-González, one of the researchers and a professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra. Dr. Martínez-González stated that the research has shown that, “a modification in the entire diet pattern managed to achieve, in just one year, results that pharmaceutical drugs did not – even after two years of treatment.”
Written by Case Adams PhD
Solá R, Fitó M, Estruch R, Salas-Salvadó J, Corella D, de La Torre R, Muñoz MA, López-Sabater Mdel C, Martínez-González MA, Arós F, Ruiz-Gutierrez V, Fiol M, Casals E, Wärnberg J, Buil-Cosiales P, Ros E, Konstantinidou V, Lapetra J, Serra-Majem L, Covas MI. Effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet on apolipoproteins B, A-I, and their ratio: a randomized, controlled trial. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Sep;218(1):174-80.