Mediterranean diet reduces risk of death in heart patients

28 August 2016        

mediterranean diet

Consuming a Mediterranean diet reduces mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease, according to research presented today at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress, the world’s largest heart conference.

The Italian study found that people with cardiovascular disease who adhered to a Mediterranean diet had a 37% lower risk of death, compared with those who did not adhere. 

A Mediterranean diet typically means one that is rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish, such as sardines, and wholegrain cereals, with modest amounts of meat and low-fat dairy. 

Didn’t we already know this?

Previous studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet reduces mortality in the general population, but this is one of few studies looking at the impact on people suffering from cardiovascular disease.

What the researchers did

The researchers used data from almost 1,200 patients with cardiovascular disease, recruited from the Moli-sani project, a prospective epidemiological study that randomly recruited around 25,000 adults living in Italy. They only included individuals who had a history of cardiovascular disease at the time of enrolment. This included coronary heart disease and stroke.

Food intake was recorded by patients over a period of around seven years, and their diet was scored based on its level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

People in the top category of adherence and the middle category of adherence had a 37 per cent and 21 cent lower risk of death, respectively.

What we said

Our Associate Medical Director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said:

"It is good to know that even if you already have a history of cardiovascular disease, adhering to a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of death. This study suggests that even if you are already receiving medical care, if you add a Mediterranean diet, it will have further benefit. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even if you have had a heart attack or stroke is really important and continues to benefit you."

Read our blog about the research presented at the ESC Congress.