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Mediterranean diet can reduce heart disease risk in women:
The Mediterranean dietary pattern, which is abundant in vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, and olive oil, with minimal red meat and processed foods, and the use of bioactive rich mixtures such as fresh herbs, garlic, onions, and tomato in moderate heat cuisine, has demonstrated various health benefits, such as a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. A new extensive review, led by the University of Sydney, has now found that it can also significantly reduce cardiovascular disease in women. Women who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 24 percent lower risk of heart disease and a 23 percent lower risk of death.
The review analyzed data from 16 studies, which included over 722,000 female participants between 2006 and 2021, mostly from Europe and the United States, and measured the participants’ adherence to the Mediterranean diet with a ‘traditional Mediterranean diet score.’ While previous studies showed an overall protective effect of the Mediterranean diet, this is the first to confirm its benefits for women, with previous research demonstrating similar benefits for men.
The Mediterranean diet can be easily recommended as a non-pharmaceutical intervention that can be incrementally adopted by making simple changes, such as using olive oil instead of other oils during cooking, consuming white meat instead of processed meat, and adding a couple of serves of fish, particularly oily fish like salmon, to the weekly diet. These results will be useful in updating dietary and clinical guideline recommendations for women, especially to prevent heart disease.
The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, such as longevity, reduced overall cancer incidence, neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes, extend beyond cardiovascular disease, according to research from Italy. For further information about the Mediterranean diet, including tips and a sample meal plan, visit https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan#eating-out.
Kris Gunnars, Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD Edited By Lisa Valente, MS, RD Medically Reviewed By Kim Chin, RD Copy Edited By Christina Guzik, BA, MBA
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