Paleo may make more headlines lately, but new research continues to tout the health-promoting powers of the Mediterranean diet. The diet cut the risk of heart disease in half for a group of adults followed over 10 years, compared to a similar group of people who did not follow the diet, according to a new study that was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego, Calif. The research was noted on sciencedaily.com.
Appropriately, a group of Greek scientists conducted the study, using a representative sample of more than 2,500 Greek adults, ages 18 to 89, who provided them with their health info every year from 2001 to 2012. They also completed in-depth surveys about the medical records, lifestyles and dietary habits at the beginning of the study, five years into the study and after 10 years, according to a release about the research from the American College of Cardiology. Nearly 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women studied developed or died from heart disease. Greeks and Americans have similar rates of heart disease and risk factors, according to the ACC.
Researchers found that subjects who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease over a 10-year period compared to similar adults who did not closely follow the diet. For the study subjects, sticking to the Mediterranean diet was even more protective for their hearts than physical activity. The study was the first to track 10-year heart disease risk in the general population. Most previous studies focused on middle-aged people.
“Our study shows that the Mediterranean diet is a beneficial intervention for all types of people--in both genders, in all age groups, and in both healthy people and those with health conditions," said Ekavi Georgousopoulou, a Ph.D. candidate at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, who conducted the study, in the release. "It also reveals that the Mediterranean diet has direct benefits for heart health, in addition to its indirect benefits in managing diabetes, hypertension and inflammation."
So take that, paleo. There’s a reason the cavemen are no longer around.
Perhaps they’d be here to push their own energy bars if they’d been able to drink wine, like the Med dieters.