The Mediterranean Diet, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, moderate wine consumption, et cetera, has been found to possess
cardiovascular benefits. Exactly how these heart-healthy benefits come to be is not exactly known, though there are many possible scenarios.
One such example is the functionality of the endothelium (the cells that line the blood vessels). It is known that poor endothelial function is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, though its relationship to the Mediterranean diet is not well known.
A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition aimed to examine the relationship between the Mediterranean Diet and endothelial function, as well as possible effects on low-grade inflammation, another problem that has been linked to poor cardiovascular health.
557 adults (aged 59.6 +/- 6.9years) with increased risk for cardiovascular disease were recruited for this study.
Diet information was collected via self-reported questionnaire.
The following indicators for endothelial health were measured for each participant and taken at the beginning of the study, and again after 7 years: von Willenbrand factor, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, soluble endothelial selectin, soluble thrombomodulin, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1.
The following indicators for low-grade inflammation were measured for each participant and taken at the beginning of the study, and again after 7 years: C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor α, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1.
Other information collected and/or measured included: sex, glucose metabolism, energy intake, BMI, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits.
Higher consumption of fish was associated with better endothelial function after 7 years.
Total consumption of vegetables, fruit, alcohol, dairy, or meat had no effect on endothelial function after 7 years.
There were no associations between the Mediterranean diet, or component there-in, and low-grade inflammation after 7 years.
Higher consumption of lean fish, raw vegetables, and fewer dairy products were associated with better endothelial function after 7 years.
Higher consumption of fresh fruit, poultry, fewer high-fat dairy products, and moderate consumption of wine was associated with less low-grade inflammation.
The results of this study indicate that adhering to the Mediterranean diet, specifically increased consumption of lean fish, raw vegetables, moderate consumption of wine and low consumption of dairy products are associated with better
endothelial function and lower low-grade inflammation in adults with a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
These results indicate that endothelial function and inflammation may be at least one of the explanations why those adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet have improved cardiovascular health than those consuming other diets.
The Mediterranean diet is frequently touted as having many heart healthy benefits to those who stick to it. Specifically, research has
shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet improves lipid profiles, including increased “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and reduced “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), reduced triglycerides, and reduced total cholesterol.
A new study in the journal Revista Española deCardiología aimed to add more evidence to the growing pile by exploring the dietary patterns of Spanish adults and associations with their plasma lipid profiles.
A total of 1290 Spanish adults were included in this study. Diet and exercise patterns were determined by self-reported questionnaires. Previous hospitalizations and family disease history were also collected.
Blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed for: fasting serum glucose, total glucose, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting serum insulin, and whole blood glycated hemoglobin.
Greater adherence to a Western-style diet (more red meats, sweets, fast-food, etc.) was associated with the lowest levels of “good” cholesterol, and the highest levels of “bad” cholesterol.
Greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet (more veggies, fish, nuts, olive oil, etc) was associated with higher levels of “good” cholesterol, and a lower ratio of triglycerides to “good” cholesterol.
The results of this study add to the growing mountain of evidence
supporting the benefits of the Mediterranean diet on heart health. According to these results, Spanish adults with good adherence to the Mediterranean diet had better plasma lipid profiles than those sticking to a Western-style diet. Specifically, those eating a Mediterranean diet had greater levels of “good” cholesterol compared with those eating a Western-style diet.