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Mediterranean-style diet may help you beat heart failure

Harold Mandel's picture
Mediterranean-style diet snack

Researchers have found a Mediterranean-style diet may decrease heart failure in elderly people.


Heart failure is a very debilitating condition which is a very common reason for hospital admissions in people 65 years old and older. Good nutrition holds promise in dealing with this condition.

Mediterranean-style diet may be associated with a decrease in heart failure

The University of Alabama at Birmingham reports that a Mediterranean-style diet may be associated with a decrease in heart failure in older people. This is significant because about 5 million people in the United States are afflicted with heart failure as an age associated disease in the aftermath of a heart attack.

Researchers associated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham have shown in mouse experiments the mechanism by which aging and too much dietary fat create signals which result in heart failure after a person has a heart attack. An understanding of this mechanism is important because about 50 percent of people who have heart attacks die within 5 years. The cost per year for related health care, medications and missing work is about $32 billion. Clearly better prevention of this condition is needed.

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In heart failure we see overactive inflammation at the heart

An understanding of the dysfunctional lipid signaling which triggers heart inflammation and heart failure may be vital to discovering therapeutic treatments for the scores of elderly patients who are at risk of getting heart failure after they have a heart attack. In heart failure we see overactive inflammation at the heart which does not resolve.

Researchers observed that in the mouse a combination of age and excess omega-6 fatty acid in the diet led to increased heart inflammation in comparison to aged mice who consumed a lower-fat, lab chow diet. It is of interest that there is a much higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids in the classic Western diet, which is similar to the excess omega-6 fatty acid diet which was fed to the mice.

In the Mediterranean-style diet there is much less meat

This study has been published in the journal Aging. In what is known as the Mediterranean-style diet there is much less meat with a much lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than in the typical Western diet. People who regularly eat a Mediterranean-style diet have been found to develop less heart disease.

The American Heart Association reports there are various types of Mediterranean diets seen in at least the 16 countries which border the Mediterranean Sea. There is however a common Mediterranean dietary pattern which includes eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, nuts, seeds, and beans.

Olive oil is an essential monounsaturated fat source in the typical Mediterranean diet. There is just a little red meat eaten and dairy products, fish and poultry are eaten in low to moderate amounts. Eggs are eaten as little as four times a week or not at all. Wine is enjoyed in low to moderate amounts. In consideration that this diet is delicious it's worth adhering to in order to give yourself a better chance to have a healthy heart and live a long life.