A comprehensive medical study shows that the Mediterranean diet with olive oil and nuts was best for cardiovascular heath, even much better than a low-fat diet that many people currently follow. The article, by Melissa Healy, in The Los Angeles Times, says:
The study's findings, released Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine, also add to mounting evidence contradicting a long-held tenet of dieting to improve health: that all calories are equal. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet were pretty substantial too: compared with a group of 2,450 subjects who were urged to follow a low-fat diet, the 4,997 who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented either with nuts (2,454 subjects) or with extra-virgin olive oil (2,543 subjects) were 30% less likely to suffer one of the following outcomes: a heart attack, stroke or death attributed to cardiovascular disease.
The Mediterranean dieters were almost 40% less likely than the low-fat dieters to have a stroke during the follow-up period. And the superiority of the Mediterranean diet over a low-fat diet was consistent across virtually all sub-categories of participants -- men, women, older and younger subjects, and those with or without every risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Only among the small group of subjects without hypertension did a low-fat diet show better results.
All of the trial's subjects were ages 55 to 80 (women were 60 to 80) and either had type 2 diabetes or satisfied at least three of the following criteria: they were active smokers, were overweight or obese, had a family history of premature heart disease or had hypertension or worrisome cholesterol readings. After randomizing the subjects to the low-fat diet group, the Mediterranean diet with tree nuts group or the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group, researchers followed the subjects for a median of 4.8 years to ensure they were adhering to their recommended regimen and to gauge how many in each group suffered a heart attack or stroke or died of cardiovascular disease.The health benefits to the heart of such a diet, rich in fatty fish, fruits, vegetables and fatty acids, have long been known from an anecdotal point of view; now there is scientific evidence to support the idea that nuts and olive oil play also play a significant role in reducing the possibility of cardiovascular diseases. Somehow the combination of such foods helps the heart work better. As does an occasional glass of red wine.
You can read the rest of the article at [LA Times]