Study: Plant-Based Diets With Nuts and Virgin Olive Oil Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk By 30%

By Sandy Todd Webster
Apr 26, 2013

We already understand the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet, but a new study casts yet another convincing health vote in its favor.

A landmark global study shows that people who eat a plant-based Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or virgin olive oil may enjoy long-term benefits, including a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The study—presented at the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, held at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California, and published in The New England Journal of Medicine (online February 25, 2013; doi: 10/1056/NEJMoa/
200303)—involved 7,447 individuals (aged 55-80) at high risk of cardiovascular disease but with no symptoms. Subjects were followed for an average of 4.8 years between 2003 and 2011.

The results favor two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with nuts, the other with virgin olive oil) over a low-fat diet for beneficial effects on a range of intermediate outcomes, including body weight, blood pressure, insulin resistance, blood lipids, lipid oxidation and systemic inflammation.

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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