Mediterranean Diet Is Good For Heart Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

To preserve your cardiovascular system, it is important to have a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and Omega3 fatty acids. Spanish research finds that Mediterranean diet is good for heart health and metabolic syndrome.

The Mediterranean diet, and a serving of nuts every day, control the metabolic syndrome - including weight problems, high cholesterol or hypertension - among seniors with a high risk of heart disease. This is what shows a Spanish study, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The metabolic syndrome represents a group of health problems that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and high glucose levels - all risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Previous studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet - which includes many of cereals, vegetables, fruits and olive oil, moderate consumption of fish and alcohol, and few dairy products, meat and sweets - reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome.


The study involved 1224 people aged between 55 and 80 years at high risk of cardiovascular disease. They were divided into three groups: one group received advice on a diet low in fat, and the other two were taught quarterly on the Mediterranean diet. The second group received a liter of olive oil per week, and the third group received 30 grams of walnuts per day.

In the beginning of the study about 61.1% of people were affected by the metabolic syndrome. A year later, the prevalence of the syndrome was reduced by 13.7 percent in the third group, 6.7% in the second, and 2% in the control group.

Nobody has changed their weight, but the number of people that had large size, or high triglycerides, or hypertension, decreased in the third group (those who have learned to follow a Mediterranean diet associated with nuts), compared to the control group. According to researchers, these results suggest that the Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts, improves certain aspects of the metabolic syndrome, including damage to cells caused by oxygen, insulin resistance and inflammation.

"Traditionally, it is advised to use diets that are low in fats and high in carbohydrates, but they are not very tasty. The results of this study show that a traditional Mediterranean diet, not limited in energy and enriched with nuts, which is rich in fat, rich in unsaturated fat and tasty, helps controling the metabolic syndrome," concludes Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvado and colleagues at the University of Rovira i Virgili.