Mediterranean diet linked with lower risk of CVD
The study led by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is the first to assess the effects of Mediterranean-style diet among a group of young, working U.S. adults.
“Our study adds more evidence showing the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, even after adjusting for exercise and body weight,” Stefanos Kales, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH and chief of occupational and environmental medicine at CHA, said.
U.S. firefighters are known to have a high prevalence of obesity and risk factors for CVD. A Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, has been shown in previous studies to lower risk of CVD.
The researchers analyzed medical and lifestyle data, including dietary habits, from an existing cohort of 780 male firefighters in the Midwest.
The firefighter group with greatest adherence to Mediterranean-style diet showed a 35 percent decreased risk in metabolic syndrome, a condition with risk factors that include a large waistline, high triglyceride level, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
The group with the highest mMDS also had a 43 percent lower risk of weight gain compared with the lowest mMDS group. Additionally, greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet was significantly associated with higher HDL cholesterol and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
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