We know from previous studies that following a Mediterranean-style diet may help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related death, but might it be even more effective than the common cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins? Italian researchers believe the answer is yes.
Findings from an observational study led by Dr. Giovanni de Gaetano reveal that men and women with heart disease who ate a diet rich in healthy fats, leafy green veggies, low-sugar fruits, nuts and legumes were 37 percent less likely to die prematurely. With statins, the average reduced risk is only 24 percent—making diet the clear winner.
Speaking at the recent European Society of Cardiology Congress, de Gaetano pointed out that much of the research conducted so far has focused mainly on healthy people, but this study was among the first to show that a Mediterranean diet may help people who already have heart disease.
The new findings are certainly worth noting, especially since heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States and globally. If making simple dietary changes could offer benefits above and beyond prescription medications, those already diagnosed or at risk for developing heart disease may want to consider going Mediterranean.