Strict adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and nuts reduces the relative risk of cardiovascular complications by 30% in high-risk people compared with a low-fat diet, according to findings from the PREDIMED study, the largest nutrition intervention trial in Europe, presented at the National Congress of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine, from November 21st to the 23rd, in Málaga.
The PREDIMED study analyzed the possible mechanisms by which the Mediterranean diet would have such a positive effect. According to Dr. Ramón Estruch, from the internal medicine division at Hospital Clínic, in Barcelona, and the trial coordinator, "We have observed that it acts on glucose metabolism, diminishing insulin resistance, reducing arterial pressure and improving the lipid profile. We have also confirmed that it reduces oxidative stress markers and systemic inflammation, with the result that the majority of its effects are attributable to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
"It has a similar effect to statins, but with the enormous advantage that the Mediterranean diet does not have adverse effects".
Mediterranean diet and body weight
Overweight and obese people should not avoid olive oil or nuts, provided that they are part of a healthy eating plan such as the Mediterranean diet.