The Mediterranean diet protects health. Although this was an open secret, the Spanish macro-study on the Prevention of the Mediterranean Diet (PREDIMED) has been responsible for substantiated it. The first results of this study show that a diet based on fish, fruits, vegetables, wheat and dairy, and supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and nuts decreases between 40% and 50% the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Ramón Struch, a specialist in Internal Medicine Hospital of Barcelona and coordinator of the project, explains that the diet of three months of the patients included in the first stage showed "a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.”
The first results of the study are 772 patients with a mean age of 70 years who had at least three cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, etc.). Participants were divided into three groups and subjected to a Mediterranean diet with olive oil in the first case, bearing nuts in a second case, and a third group followed a control diet low in fat.
For the three months, we observed a significant decrease in blood pressure and blood glucose levels in both groups following the Mediterranean diet. Also, unlike the control diet, which showed a lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and "good" (HDL), patients who consumed nuts and olive oil decreased LDL cholesterol levels and increased HDL, according to experts, this could be due to the addition of these supplements made based on monounsaturated fats of vegetable origin.
In addition to the reduction of cardiovascular risk, none of the patients increased in weight, even saw a downward trend. Struch believes this could be because it "incorporates healthy fats that have a distinct effect that the animal fats in promoting weight.”
PREDIMED study, funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III of Madrid, will be extended by at least four years and plans to add more to 9,000 patients through 18 research centers in various regions of Spain involved in this initiative.