March 15, 2023 | 2:31 p.m.
According to a new analysis, women who follow the Mediterranean diet have nearly 25% less risk of heart disease and premature death.
Research by a team from the University of Sydney published in the journal Heart looked at data from 16 studies carried out between 2003 and 2021.
Participants in the studies came primarily from the United States and Europe and consisted of more than 700,000 women aged 18 and older, and their cardiovascular health was monitored for an average of 12.5 years.
The results suggest that closely following a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24% – 25% less for coronary heart disease in particular – and the risk of death from any cause by 23%.
The Mediterranean diet — which was named the best diet overall for the sixth year in a row by US News & World Report — highlights the importance of a quality supply and filling your plate with whole foods and high-fat grains. nutrients, with an emphasis on fresh produce. , lean protein, like fish and chicken, and, of course, antioxidant-rich olive oil.
The Med diet derives from the traditional diets of 21 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea – where fresh green vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts and olives abound.
It is unclear why this diet is specifically beneficial for women, and further gender-specific research should be conducted to guide clinical practice.
“The mechanisms explaining the sex-specific effect of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease and death remain unclear,” said study author Dr. Sarah Zaman. “Female-specific cardiovascular risk factors, including premature menopause, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes, or female-predominant risk factors, such as systemic lupus, can all independently increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, according to the CDC. In 2020, it was the cause of around one in five female deaths.
Zaman continued, “It is possible that preventive measures, such as a Mediterranean diet, that target risk factors for inflammation and cardiovascular disease may impose different effects in women compared to men.”
An earlier study from Harvard University said the Mediterranean diet was one of four common healthy eating patterns that can help reduce the risk of premature death by up to 20%.