New study finds more proof of link between Mediterranean diet and heart health

New study finds more proof of link between Mediterranean diet and heart health

Nutritionists and healthy eating aficionados have long held up the "Mediterranean diet" — which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes and olive oil —  as the key to a more lively and able-bodied life. A newly released study further reinforces this connection, demonstrating that a Mediterranean diet may facilitate more robust heart health and even reverse metabolic syndrome.

The findings, which were published in the online edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on October 14, were drawn from a comparison of the Mediterranean diet and a standard low-fat diet. The study, conducted by nutrition professor Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvado of Spain's Universitat Rovira I Virgili and Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus, looked to determine which option could better reduce the chances of metabolic syndrome, a significant risk factor for heart disease and death. While the research team deduced that the Mediterranean diet did not actually lower these odds, it did raise the chances of reversing metabolic syndrome, furthering the diet's documented benefits for those with hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"It seems that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or virgin olive oil has similar effects on metabolic syndrome reversal," wrote Dr. Salas-Salvado on the official CMAJ release.

According to the study, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts made metabolic syndrome reversal 28 percent more likely. Those odds rose to 35 percent with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra olive oil. These findings were extrapolated from a group of 6,000 men and women, two-thirds of whom suffer from metabolic syndrome.

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