How the Mediterranean Diet Lowers Heart Disease Risk

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Women who follow a Mediterranean diet high in plant foods and olive oil and low in meats and processed foods have a 25 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than women who eat a typical American diet. That’s according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who analyzed 40 biomarkers to learn more about how the Mediterranean diet lowers heart disease and stroke risk.

This study involved up to 12 years of data on more than 25,000 participants in the Women's Health Study who completed food intake questionnaires and provided blood samples for measuring markers of cardiovascular health — inflammation, glucose metabolism, and insulin resistance, for example. The researchers classified study participants as low, middle, or upper in terms of how closely their eating patterns resembled the Mediterranean diet.

According to the researchers, fewer women in the middle and upper groups experienced cardiovascular events (heart attack or stroke) during the study period. Improved biomarkers associated with this reduced risk included inflammation, glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and to a lesser extent, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Sourced from: JAMA Network Open