Results of a recently published Biomed Central Medicine journal article has shown significant cardiovascular incidence and mortality benefits of a Mediterranean dietary regimen in a non-Mediterranean population.
The term Mediterranean diet refers to the traditional food regimens that are commonly used in the Mediterranean region. The diet is typically high in the consumption of cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and olive oil, low in red meats, and moderate in the consumption of fermented dairy products, fish, poultry, and wine. It is mostly popular in Greece and southern Italy.
It has been shown that this regimen could significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), malignancies and neurocognitive disorders (like Alzheimer’s disease). Some other research has also been conducted on non-Mediterranean populations who had an adherence to this kind of dietary regimen. The results are somewhat controversial in terms of the beneficial outcomes of a Mediterranean diet on non-Mediterranean populations.
This cohort study which is published in The Biomed Central Medicine journal has evaluated the effect of the Mediterranean dietary regimen on the cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in a UK population.
The researchers have primarily recruited a total number of 25,639 UK participants into the study, and after the initial evaluation, the study population was determined as 23,902 persons. The baseline characteristics of this population were assessed between 1993-1998, and then they were followed up from 1998 until 2013. To assess the adherence to Mediterranean food regimens, the researchers have used the Mediterranean dietary pyramid and two other Mediterranean Dietary Scores.
The primary outcome was incident CVD, which included any first ever case of both non-fatal or fatal events due to ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease.
Based on the results of this study, participants with high adherence were less likely to be current smokers, and more likely to be physically active and have a college education and higher social status compared to participants with low adherence. There were a total number of 7606 incident cardiovascular events (2818/100,000 person-years) and 1714 cardiovascular deaths (448/100,000). Mediterranean dietary adherence was significantly associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular outcomes.
To sum up, authors have stated that adherence to a Mediterranean diet could significantly reduce incident cardiovascular disease in the UK population of this cohort study. The results of this study added the fact that Mediterranean diet has cardiovascular disease benefits not only in the Mediterranean population but also in other populations, like people from the UK. It is suggested that more population-based and clinical investigations be conducted to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of adhering to the Mediterranean diet in contemporary, non-Mediterranean populations.
Written By: Nima Makhdami, M.D.