Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

Another Study Says Mediterranean Diet Good for the Heart

 

Another Study Says Mediterranean Diet Good for the Heart

MONDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Score another heart-health win for the Mediterranean diet.

Eating a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, along with red wine, helped those at high risk for cardiovascular problems avoid heart trouble better than those eating a low-fat diet, a new Spanish study has found.

During a follow-up period of about five years, study participants on a Mediterranean diet that emphasized either olive oil or nuts had a 30 percent greater reduction in relative risk of a heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease, said study lead author Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez. He is chairman of preventive medicine and public health at the Universidad de Navarra in Spain.

"This is a moderate-to-high benefit," he said. "The low-fat diet also helped, but to a lesser degree."

The new findings are published online Feb. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine. They will also be presented Monday at the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition in Loma Linda, Calif.

The findings echo those from previous research.

Martinez-Gonzalez's team evaluated nearly 7,500 men and women. They ranged in age from 55 to 80 when they enrolled in the study, which began in Spain in 2003. Fifty-seven percent of the participants were women.

While the men and women had no history of heart attack or stroke or other cardiovascular problems at enrollment, they did have risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

The researchers assigned the men and women to one of three groups -- a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet that focused on nuts or a Mediterranean diet that focused on olive oil.

On average, the men and women were overweight or obese. In all three groups, the average body-mass index was 30 or close to it, which is defined as obese.

The olive oil group consumed about four tablespoons a day or more. The nuts group ate about three servings a week or more, including walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Members of both groups also ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, and drank wine with meals. They could have white meat but were told to avoid red and processed meats.

The low-fat group ate low-fat dairy, breads, potatoes, fruits and vegetables, and lean fish. They were told to avoid oils, baked goods, nuts, red and processed meat, and fatty fish.

At the end of the study, 288 cardiovascular events had occurred. While 109 of those events occurred in the low-fat group, 96 were in the group that ate a Mediterranean diet with olive oil, and 83 were in the Mediterranean diet-with-nuts group.

When the researchers looked separately at stroke, heart attack and death, only the link between the Mediterranean diet and stroke was statistically significant. The researchers found a link between the diets and heart protection, but it did not prove cause and effect, they said.

So why does the Mediterranean diet seem to boost heart health? Martinez-Gonzalez said it's probably the combination of good-quality fats -- both monounsaturated like olive oil and polyunsaturated like vegetable oils -- and the wide range of other nutrients.

The findings came as no surprise to two U.S. experts.

"I think this is demonstrating again, conclusively, that this is the diet to go on to prevent heart disease," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign.

The 30 percent reduction in relative risk, she said, is ''significant."

Alice Lichtenstein, the Stanley Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said the new findings are "confirming what we have been saying all along." The findings are strong, she said, due to the number of people studied and the length of the follow-up.

"Essentially, they confirmed what the current recommendations from the American Heart Association and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are saying," added Lichtenstein, who's also a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

However, she said, ''the results of this study do not provide a license to start snacking on nuts or adding nuts to salads and yogurt without taking something out of the diet that has an equivalent number of calories. The same goes for olive oil."

Steinbaum added: "Every time you use butter, just use olive oil instead. Instead of snacking on popcorn, have some nuts."

The California Walnut Commission is a sponsor of the Congress. One study researcher is on the commission's board. Another has received grants from the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council. The Spanish government funded the research.

More information

To learn more about the Mediterranean diet, visit the American Heart Association .

http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/HealthDay/EN/2013/Feb/26/673785.html

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
CEBS
CHHS News
GFCB
Ogden News
PCAL
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
Transportation
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Police
Emergency Preparedness
Facilities
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
DELO News
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Employee Wellness
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Van Meter Auditorium
WellU
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
PS1 Levels 3-4 Reserved

Friday - Sunday

Ransdells to join WKU's Hall of Distinguished Alumni

This fall, Dr. Gary A. Ransdell and Julie Ransdell will join WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. As new members of the 26th class of noted alumni, the Ransdells will be recognized during an 11 a.m. luncheon on Oct. 13 at Sloan Convention Center.

With Spirit Funder support, WKU Storm Chasers documented multiple tornadoes

This year for Dr. Josh Durkee’s annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class, the students had some extra support in the form of WKU’s new crowdsource funding project, Spirit Funder.

Featured Articles
With Spirit Funder support, WKU Storm Chasers documented multiple tornadoes

This year for Dr. Josh Durkee’s annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class, the students had some extra support in the form of WKU’s new crowdsource funding project, Spirit Funder.

Board of Regents to hold special budget approval, committee meetings June 23

The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special budget approval meeting and committee meetings on June 23 in the Martin Regents Room, Jody Richards Hall.

The Medical Center highlights partnership with UK, WKU at groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus took place Tuesday (June 6) at The Medical Center at Bowling Green. The school is a partnership between The Medical Center, the University of Kentucky and WKU.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 
 Last Modified 5/2/17