Mediterranean Lifestyle May Lower Risk of Early Death in Cardiovascular Disease, New Study Finds

Professor Giovanni de Gaetano, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed Institute in Pozzilli, Italy, presented results from his observational Moli-sani study, at the ESC Congress 2016. The study shows that patients with a history of cardiovascular disease, who followed a Mediterranean diet, had a reduced risk of death.

Mediterranean Diet Study

According to de Gaetano, the Mediterranean diet—consisting of large quantities of vegetables and olive oil with a moderate amount of protein—is known as one of the healthier diets in the world. Studies have proven that living a Mediterranean lifestyle can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.

The research has been centered on healthy people, as they make up most of the general population; however, the Mediterranean diet is just as applicable to those who have suffered from cardiovascular disease, according to a study done by Dr. Marialaura Bonaccio. “Among the participants, we identified 1197 people who reported a history of cardiovascular disease at the time of enrolment into Moli-sani,” said Dr. Bonaccio.

During a follow up of 7.3 years, there were 208 deaths. The Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) was associated with a 21% decreased risk of death after taking into account age, sex, energy intake, leisure-time physical activity, egg and potato intake, smoking, diabetes and cancer at baseline.

Professor de Gaetano said: “We found that among those with a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet, death from any cause was reduced by 37% in comparison to those who poorly adhered to this dietary regime.”

What This Means

As mentioned, those who adhered closely to a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of death by 37%. The researchers also expanded their investigation by looking at the foods that make up the Mediterranean diet, in order to see what was contributing to the decrease in mortality rates. “The major contributors to mortality risk reduction were a higher consumption of vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts and monounsaturated fatty acids – that means olive oil,” said Dr. Bonaccio.

“Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk of death in cardiovascular disease patients,” Alpha Galileo web site; August 26, 2016;