Does the Mediterranean Diet Also Reduce Risk of Heart Failure and Stroke?

Although the Mediterranean Diet is recommended to help reduce the incidence and mortality of cardiovascular disease in general, data on how it affects heart failure and stroke rates is lacking. In a population-based cohort in Sweden, investigators questioned 32,921 women via dietary questionnaires.  For the study, they then determined a modified Mediterranean diet (mMED) score for each.  The mMED score (scaled 0-8) was calculated based on a high consumption of whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, fish, fermented dairy products, and monounsaturated fats along with a low intake of red meat and a moderate amount of alcohol.   Results of 10 years of follow-up were published recently in Atherosclerosis. Those who’s mMed scores were in the 6-8 range (i.e., indicating high adherence) vs. those with low scores had a significantly lower risk of heart failure, ischemic stroke, and myocardial infarction.  This relationship did not hold true for hemorrhagic stroke, however.  Investigators therefore concluded, that adherence to the Mediterranean Diet will likely help prevent “all major types of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease”.

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