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The Mediterranean Diet and Heart Disease

According to a new study, about 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables.

These findings were published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s website. They were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diets effect on people with heart risks. The findings startled the experts.

“Really impressive,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “And the really important thing – the coolest thing – is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks, and strokes, and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”

Not everyone is convinced, that this diet is the one to follow when it comes to heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn, Jr., the author of the best seller “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition -Based Cure,” who promotes a vegan diet and does not allow olive oil, dismissed the study. Dr. Esselstyn said those in the diet study still had heart attacks and strokes.

Others hailed the study. “This group is to be congratulated for carrying out a study that is nearly impossible to do well,” said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and a past president of the American Heart Association.

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