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A Word from Dr. Kirby - Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Written by Dr. Erle Kirby   
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:42

In addition to decreasing rates of smoking and increasing activity levels, the other main component of healthy living is to follow a healthy diet.

 There has been considerable debate over the years regarding which diet to follow but new evidence based on a properly-conducted clinical trial shows that what is referred to as "the Mediterranean diet" reduces heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart attacks. This is in comparison with the standard low fat diet recommended to most people after a heart attack. Perhaps the results would have been even more striking if compared to the average North American diet.

Here are the details of the study:


  • A Mediterranean diet, compared with a low-fat control diet, lowered the risk for major cardiovascular events by 30% in people at high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.
  • Some 7500 people in Spain with risk factors for cardiovascular disease were randomized to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (1 liter per week), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts (30 g per day), or a low-fat diet.
  • Dietitians counseled all participants about how to follow their diet, and compliance was good in all three groups.

After a median follow up of 4.8 years, each of the two Mediterranean diet groups showed a 30% relative reduction in the rate of the primary outcome — myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular mortality — compared with the control group. Reductions in stroke accounted for most of the benefit.



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