The Mediterranean diet is frequently receiving accolades for its health benefits, including helping to fight dementia and reducing the risk of cancer. A new study further suggests the diet may also have benefits in combating heart disease.
Researchers from Harokopio University in Athens, Greece regularly examined the health of more than 2,500 adults aged 18 to 89 over a period of 10 years. By the end of the study, nearly 20 per cent of the men and 12 per cent of the women had either developed or died from heart disease, including strokes, heart attacks and coronary heart disease.
The team found those who followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who did not follow the diet. Additionally, women showed an elevated ability to follow the Mediterranean diet more closely than men.
There is no ‘set’ Mediterranean diet specifically, but generally it is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and olive oil.
Researcher Ekavi Georgousopoulou said: “Because the Mediterranean diet is based on food groups that are quite common or easy to find, people around the world could easily adopt this dietary pattern and help protect themselves against heart disease with very little cost.”
The study was limited to Greece, but previous studies in other countries have also linked the Mediterranean diet to reducing heart disease.