Mediterranean diet rich in nuts, oils and leafy veg slashes risk of an early death in women by a QUARTER, study suggests
Following the Mediterranean diet can slash a woman’s chance of an early death by nearly a quarter, a study suggests.
In the study of more than 700,000 women, the famed diet decreases a woman’s chances of dying from any cause by 23 percent. Australian researchers also highlighted similar drops in deaths from heart disease and stroke.
Rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil — the diet has been lauded in recent years for its brain-boosting and heart-helping effects.
A study just last week found it could even drop a person’s risk of suffering dementia.
Researchers found that women who ate the Mediterranean diet — rich in fish, nuts and vegetables — were 23 percent less likely to die of any cause during any 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 hear disease began to arise.
Further exploration found that the typical diets of people in the region were playing a role in their great health.
In the time since, a growing body of research has continued to confirm the benefits of the diet rich in vegetables and healthy fats.
Whether one gender may benefit from the diet more than the other has not been explored much, though.
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 above.
Their cardiovascular health was monitored for an average of 12.5 years.
Sticking closely to a Mediterranean diet lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent, researchers found.
It also dropped the likelihood of death from any cause by 23 percent. The risk of coronary heart disease was 25 percent lower and they were less likely to suffer from stroke.
However, the reason why this diet is particularly beneficial for women is unknown.
The study author, Dr Sarah Zaman, of of the study’s authors, said: ‘Mechanisms explaining the sex-specific effect of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease and death remain unclear.
‘Female-specific cardiovascular risk factors, including premature menopause, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, or female predominant risk factors, such as systemic lupus, can all independently increase cardiovascular disease risk.
‘It is possible that preventative measures, such as a Mediterranean diet, that targets inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors, impose differing effects in women compared with men.’
Cardiovascular disease accounts for more than a third of all deaths in women around the world.
However, many clinical trials and research include relatively few women and do not often report results by sex.
The current guidelines on how to best lower cardiovascular disease also do not differentiate by gender.
This latest study calls for more sex-specific research to help guide clinical practice in heart health.