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Mediterranean Diet Can Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

A diet high in nuts or extra virgin olive oil can reduce cardiovascular events in high risk patients by 30%….

A Mediterranean-style diet enriched with virgin olive oil or mixed nuts may prevent cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke) in high-risk patients.

A randomized control trial conducted in Spain enrolled 7447 patients with high cardiovascular risk but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment. Participants were randomized to one of two Mediterranean diet groups (one supplemented with olive oil, the other with nuts) or to a control diet wherein subjects were advised to try to reduce dietary fat.

The two Mediterranean-diet groups had good adherence to the intervention compared to the control group. Study dropouts were 11.3% in the control group and 4.9% in the two Mediterranean diet groups.

The primary end-point was the rate of major cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes). A primary end-point event occurred in 288 participants. After 4.8 years of analysis the Mediterranean diet with nuts had the lowest number of participants that experienced an event (83 events) followed by the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil (96 events) vs. the control group who had the highest number of participants experiencing an event (109 events).

“These results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for CV risk reduction [and] are particularly relevant given the challenges of achieving and maintaining weight loss.”

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease With a Mediterranean Diet. N Engl J Med 2013; doi:10.1056/NEJMoa200303.