NEJM Reports Med Diet Benefits


Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Nuts, Primarily Walnuts Significantly Reduces Risk of Stroke (49%) and Cardiovascular Diseases (30%).

Published by the New England Journal of Medicine, findings from the landmark Spanish PREDIMED (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterranea) trial, report that a Mediterranean diet including nuts, primarily walnuts, reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death) by 30% and specifically reduced the risk of stroke by 49% when compared to a reference diet consisting of advice on a low-fat diet (American Heart Association guidelines). As one of the world's largest and longest dietary intervention studies, PREDIMED is a multicenter, randomized, primary prevention trial of cardiovascular disease funded by the Spanish Ministry of Health. Please note, because the study participants were at high cardiovascular risk; whether the results can be generalized to persons at lower risk or to other settings requires further research.

These findings are significant considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In addition to being the first and third leading causes of death in America, heart disease and stroke result in serious illness and disability, decreased quality of life, and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic loss every year. According to lead researcher Dr. Ramon Estruch, "the results of the PREDIMED trial are of utmost importance because they convincingly demonstrate that a high vegetable fat dietary pattern is beneficial for cardiovascular prevention."

Co-investigator Dr. Emilio Ros believes that these findings build on previous research where he has found positive results in consuming walnuts, and thinks the unique nutrient profile of walnuts may be one of the key factors responsible for the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. "In addition to being the only nut containing significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid – walnuts offer numerous antioxidants and additional nutrients that, I believe, work together synergistically to produce their cardiovascular protective effect[1]," states Dr. Ros.

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

 


 

[1] Please note: One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein, 3.68 mmol/28 g of antioxidants. (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl)

 

 

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