Increased left ventricular mass is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in many populations. An increase in the left ventricular mass results in the heart having to work a lot harder to pump blood through the body, increasing risk to many cardiovascular problems, including hypertension and eventually heart failure.
There are data to suggest that one’s diet has an influence on cardiovascular health, however, there have been very few scientific studies examining the relationship between
left ventricular mass and the consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet.
A new collaborative study by researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (FL) and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (NY) looked at 1937 multi-ethnic patients and determined what type of diet they regularly consumed as well as the mass of their left ventricle (using echocardiography).
- Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was negatively associated with left ventricular mass.
- Those sticking to a Mediterranean diet had smaller left ventricular masses than those not following the same diet.
- After controlling for demographics, behavioral risk factors, diabetes, BMI, height, and blood pressure, left ventricular mass was still significantly less in those adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet compared with those that did not.
Overall, those with the greatest adherence to the Mediterranean diet had the smallest left ventricular masses, while those that were the worst at sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet had the largest left ventricular masses.
More research is needed, but this study indicates that the Mediterranean diet plays an important role in maintaining good cardiovascular health.
Gardener H, Rundek T, Wright CB, Gu Y, Scarmeas N, Homma S, Russo C, Elkind MSV, Sacco RL, Di Tullio MR, A Mediterranean-style Diet and Left Ventricular Mass (From The Northern Manhattan Study), The American Journal of Cardiology (2014), doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.11.038