Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Nuts Cuts Risk of Peripheral Artery Disease


February 3, 2014

Past research had indicated that following a Mediterranean diet (Med Diet) could decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Now new research highlights that a Med Diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts may well cut the risk of peripheral artery disease, according to recent study published in the journal JAMA.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which fatty deposits increase in the arteries, restricting blood supply to the arms, legs, stomach or kidneys. According to the team of scientists led by Miguel Ruiz-Canela at the University of Navarra (Spain), the innovation of this study lies in the association between a Med Diet and PAD. Researchers examined 7,477 participants; men aged 55-80 years, and women aged 60-80 years. All participants had no symptoms of PAD or baseline cardiovascular disease, although they did have type 2 diabetes or a minimum of three other cardiovascular risk factors. Subjects were randomized to one of three diet groups: 1) a Med Diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil; 2) a Med Diet supplemented with nuts, or 3) a low-fat diet with counseling. All participants were assessed from the baseline of the study in 2003 until December 2010, and received a complete dietary instruction plan every 3 months.

According to the study data, in the middle point of the study (4.8 years), 89 of the participants developed PAD. Nevertheless, investigators found that groups who followed the Med Diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had a considerably lower risk of developing PAD, compared to the group following the low-fat diet.

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