Mediterranean diet rich in nuts, oils and leafy greens reduces risk of premature death in women by a QUARTER, study suggests
Following the Mediterranean diet can reduce a woman’s chances of dying prematurely by nearly a quarter, a study suggests.
In the study of more than 700,000 women, the famous diet reduced a woman’s chances of dying from any cause by 23 percent. The Australian researchers also noted similar drops in deaths from heart disease and stroke.
Rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil, the diet has been praised in recent years for its brain- and heart-boosting effects.
A study last week found that it might even reduce a person’s risk of dementia.
Researchers found that women who ate the Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, nuts and vegetables, were 23 percent less likely to die from any cause during a given year (file photo)
The Mediterranean diet has been described as a “gold standard” by experts. Some have even declared it as a form of preventative medicine.
It appeared on the radar of American doctors in the 1950s, when reports of low rates of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and hearing disease began to emerge.
Further exploration found that the typical diets of people in the region were playing a role in their excellent health.
Since then, a growing body of research has continued to confirm the benefits of a diet rich in vegetables and healthy fats.
However, not much has been explored as to whether one gender may benefit from diet more than the other.
For their research, published in the journal Heart, a team from the University of Sydney combined data from 16 studies published between 2003 and 2021.
The studies, mainly from the US and Europe, included data from hundreds of thousands of women aged 18 and over.
Their cardiovascular health was monitored for an average of 12.5 years.
Closely following a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent, the researchers found.
It also reduced the chance of death from any cause by 23 percent. The risk of coronary heart disease was 25 percent lower and they were less likely to have a stroke.
However, the reason why this diet is particularly beneficial for women is unknown.
Study author Dr Sarah Zaman, of the study authors, said: “The mechanisms explaining the sex-specific effect of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease and death remain unclear.”
“Women-specific cardiovascular risk factors, such as premature menopause, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes, or female-predominant risk factors, such as systemic lupus, may independently increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“It is possible that preventive measures, such as a Mediterranean diet, which targets inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors, impose different effects in women compared to men.”
Cardiovascular diseases account for more than a third of all female deaths worldwide.
However, many clinical trials and investigations include relatively few women and often do not report results by gender.
Current guidelines on how best to reduce cardiovascular disease also do not differentiate by gender.
This latest study calls for more gender-specific research to help guide clinical practice in heart health.