Mediterranean diet improves heart health
Pass the olives and the hummus. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the high-fat Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, can significantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
The study compared three groups of people, all of whom had major cardiovascular risk factors. The first group ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil. The second group followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. The third group ate a typical low-fat diet.
After five years, the participants who followed the Mediterranean diet supplemented by either olive oil or nuts reduced their risk of death from cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction and stroke by 30 percent. The findings are somewhat controversial because they contradict the long-held notion that low-fat diets are better for cardiovascular health than a high-vegetable fat diet.