The mediterranean diet and cardiovascular disease
The Interheart and the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) Studies
The risk of acute myocardial infarction is linked almost exclusively to nine risk factors which are:
- High cholesterol levels,
- Abdominal obesity,
- Non-daily consumption of fruit and vegetables,
- Alcohol consumption,
The Interheart Study is a large study on acute myocardial infarction carried out in 52 countries examining a total of 15,152 participants and 14,820 controls. The cases enlisted were patients who had a myocardial infarction and presented in a coronary unit within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. The controls were persons who were sex and age comparable but who did not have heart diseases. The Interheart study concluded that approaches to prevention seem to be based on similar principles worldwide and can potentially prevent most premature cases of myocardial infarction.
The Predimed Study, which is a vast multicentric randomized controlled trial concentrating on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, has shown that cardiovascular risk factors can be reduced by following a low-fat diet that has been integrated with olive oil or nuts in accordance with the Mediterranean diet tradition.
The Lyon Diet Heart Study and the Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell’infarto miocardio (GISSI)-Prevention study.
The Lyon Diet Heart Study reported that a diet such as the Mediterranean one can lower the risk of recurrence after a first myocardial infarction. The results of the randomized study showed that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet lasts as long as four years after the infarction. The GISSI-Prevention study, instead, demonstrated that in patients who had a myocardial infarction and who were able to follow dietetic recommendations including that of increasing the intake of Mediterranean foods, the risk of precocious death was reduced independently of any conventional pharmacological treatment.