Mediterranean diet may lower heart disease risk in women, study shows


A Mediterranean diet could lower women’s risk of heart disease by 24 percent, new research says.

It is the first such analysis of the possible link between a Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular disease to focus on women, the authors say.

According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and in the United States it is the No. 1 cause of death in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s often thought of as a male problem, but coronary artery disease kills more than twice as many women every year as breast cancer in the United Kingdom, said Victoria Taylor, a senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, who was not involved in the study.

The research analyzed 16 studies and found that women who followed a Mediterranean diet more than others had a 24 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They also had a 23 percent lower risk of death, according to the report, which was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed medical journal Heart.

The report, led by researchers at the University of Sydney, describes the diet as high in unprocessed plant foods and low in red or processed meat and dairy. It also contains whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts – and extra virgin olive oil as the main source of dietary fat.

The challenge of taking care of women’s hearts

While studies have looked at the impact of such diets on cardiovascular disease, they have not typically focused on women, the authors said.

“So this really confirmed that a Med diet was as beneficial to women as it is known to be to men,” Sarah Zaman told me. Australian television. She is one of the authors and an associate professor at the University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre.

The researchers acknowledged the limitations of their work, including that the studies were largely observational and relied on self-reporting of food intake. However, they said it “emphasizes the need to incorporate gender-specific analyzes into research and translate such findings into clinical practice guidelines.”

The observational studies meant they couldn’t prove cause and effect, and reliance on self-reporting is “a regular problem with nutritional studies that can affect the reliability of results,” Taylor said in an email. Nevertheless, “gender-specific research like this is vital to narrowing the gender gap in heart disease and improving care for women,” she said.

“It’s long been known that Mediterranean food is good for your heart, but it’s encouraging to see that this research suggests that when we look at women separately from men, the benefits persist,” Taylor said.

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