A new study has shown a Mediterranean diet can cut people’s risk of cardiovascular disease, supporting previous research on the topic.
The study, the first of its kind carried out in a UK population and published in BMC Medicine, found people with greater adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet had 6 to 16 per cent lower risk of future cardiovascular disease compared to individuals who had poor adherence.
The Mediterranean diet is typically high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olive oil, while low in red meats and moderate in dairy, fish and poultry.
Supporting previous research
Responding to the University of Cambridge study, our Dietitian Tracy Parker, said: "This large study adds to the significant body of evidence showing that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
"For those wanting to follow a Mediterranean diet, the Government's healthy eating advice set out in its 'Eatwell Guide' is similar and shows how much you should eat of each food groups to have a healthy balanced diet. This includes eating plenty of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta, plenty of fruit and vegetables, eating some fish, less meat, and choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil."
"However, eating healthily isn't enough on its own. Importantly, the researchers found that those with high adherence to the diet were less likely to be smokers and more likely to be physically active – both important independent factors in reducing a person's risk of cardiovascular disease."
Learn your heart age
The findings are published on World Heart Day, which we’re marking with the launch of our new Heart Age Tool in partnership with Public Health England and NHS Choices.
The new innovative tool, developed in part by BHF Professor John Deanfield, helps people find out their 'heart age' compared to their chronological age by assessing their risk of cardiovascular disease based on their lifestyle, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Research has shown that telling people their heart age, and the steps they can take to lower it, is an effective way of motivating people to change their behaviour with the potential for long-term improvements in heart health.
Find out your heart age