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Mediterranean Diet Studied in Atherosclerosis Risk

A study published in November 2013 indicates that consumption of the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts slows the progression of internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height. Carotid intima-media thickness is a measurement to evaluate atherosclerosis that can predict future cardiovascular events.

The researchers evaluated data on 164 subjects enrolled in the PREDIMED trial. The investigators instructed the subjects to consume one of the following:

  1. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil
  2. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 grams per day nuts
  3. A low fat diet to serve as the control group

The researchers evaluated internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height using ultrasound at the beginning of the study and again after approximately 2.4 years.

The investigators found that internal carotid intima-media thickness progressed in the control group. The Mediterranean diet plus nuts group showed a reduction in internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height. The researcher found no change in internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group.

The investigators concluded, “Compared with a control diet, consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts is associated with delayed progression of and carotid intima-media thickness plaque. The results contribute mechanistic evidence for the reduction of cardiovascular events observed in the PREDIMED trial.”

This article was published on Wednesday February 05, 2014.
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Reference:
Sala-Vila A, et al. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2013 Nov 27. [Epub ahead of print.]