The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diet in the world and today we know about it thanks to the American physiologist Ancel Keys, who first studied this amazing diet and understood its potential. Since then, several scientific studies have focused their attention on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and every time a new element has been added, a one more piece of knowledge that allows us to better understand that the health begins with our food choices. A few weeks ago another article about the topic has been published in the journal Stroke of the American Heart Association thanks to a collaboration with the Universities of East Anglia, Cambridge and Aberdeen (Paterson et al, Stroke, 2018). This article shows that the Mediterranean diet protects the cardiovascular system also in case of people who have a high cardiovascular risk.
More than 23000 adults aged 40 to 77 have been followed for 17 years by evaluating their adherence to the Mediterranean diet, a nutritional model that includes, as a main source of fat, extra virgin olive oil, and a high daily intake of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes and fish and a low meat and dairy consumption. At the end of the study the persons who had the high adherence with the Mediterranean diet showed a lower cardiovascular risk than people who adhered less, a reduction of 17% has indeed been observed. Moreover, the protection of Mediterranean diet has been observed also in people who have a high cardiovascular risk (decrease of 13%). However, the highest benefits have been reported for women, regardless of menopausal status or hormone replacement therapy, men have shown less protective effect. Although this last results, the study ends with the statement that Mediterranean diet has protective effect on heart for all the general population.