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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Heart Disease

Mediterranean Diet Beats Medicines in Heart Disease Prevention


Author: PREDIMED-Navarra, Spain


The Mediterranean diet containing olive oil and nuts is more effective in reducing and preventing heart disease than drugs according to preliminary research results of a Spanish study, part of the PREDIMED-Navarra project.

PREDIMED-Navarra project is a randomized, long-term nutritional intervention study conducted at the University of Navarra, Spain aimed to assess the role of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Olive oil and nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts all enrich a Mediterranean diet.


The PREDIMED study's early reporting indicate that a diet enriched with virgin olive oil or nuts can reverse arteriosclerosis in carotid arteries in just one year.

The study's Abstract stated that 187 participants over the age of 55 were randomly assigned to 3 groups:

  • the olive oil group which followed the Mediterranean diet supplemented with 15 liters of virgin olive oil per three months - that is about 10 tablespoons a day,
  • the nut group also followed the Mediterranean diet with 30 grams (about 1 ounce) a day of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts,
  • the low fat diet group which was given instructions and material to follow a low-fat diet.

All the volunteers had the thickness of the artery walls of their carotid arteries measured, both at the beginning of the study and at the end of a year. “We thus observed who had suffered the greatest thickening of this layer, due to arteriosclerosis. A significant improvement and regression of lesions had taken place in those cases that had followed a Mediterranean diet, enriched with virgin olive oil or nuts. This improvement was not observed amongst those who did not have thickening of the artery wall at the start of the study,” commented Dr. Ana Sánchez-Tainta, one of the researchers.

From the preliminary results of the PREDIMED research it is concluded that “a modification in the entire diet pattern managed to achieve, in just one year, results that pharmaceutical drugs did not – even after two years of treatment.” Source: “Carotid intima-media thickness changes with Mediterranean diet: A randomized trial (PREDIMED-Navarra).”( link below here ).


Note from Brits in Crete admin: The "Cretan diet" contains copious quantities of virgin olive oil and nuts. Parallel conclusions can be drawn therefore that both the Mediterranean diet and this healthy_living_in_crete_research.rtf from our downloads page help in the prevention of heart disease.

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