Risk of heart disease halved with a Mediterranean diet

A decade-long study has suggested that people who follow a Mediterranean diet can decrease their risk of heart disease by almost a half.
Data taken from 2,500 Greek men and women, aged between 18 and 89, showed that for those who consumed fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, fish, olive oil and beans, their health was better than those who failed to adhere to the diet.
The participants’ diets were scored by the researchers, and for those who were in the top third (for keeping to the diet), their likelihood of developing heart disease was reduced by 47 per cent, compared to those who were placed in the bottom third.
Carried out by researchers from Harokopio University in Athens, it is the first study to investigate a general population for heart disease, as previous studies have mostly studied middle-aged people.
Professor Panagiotakos, the study author, said: “Our study shows 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. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was more protective than physical activity.”
The Mediterranean diet is considered by many as a healthy, balanced diet, and has been linked to weight loss, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of diabetes.
However, those carrying out the research acknowledged that the results are not conclusive, due to their study only focusing on Greeks in Athens. Also, although Professor Panagiotakos believes the diet is more influential on our health, exercise is very important and should not be neglected.

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