A Mediterranean–style diet, which consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and supplemented with healthy fats found in fish, olive oil, and tree nuts such almonds have been shown to offer protection against cardiovascular complications, such as heart disease.
In fact, a study published in the JAMA Network Open noted a 25 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease among study participants who consumed a diet rich in plants and olive oil and low in meats and sweets.
While previous studies have linked a Mediterranean–style diet to a reduced risk of heart disease, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, broadened the focus to look at the underlying mechanisms that may underpin the heart-healthy benefits.
Drawing on data more than 25,000 female health professionals who participated in the Women’s Health Study, investigators identified changes in inflammation (accounting for 29 percent of the cardiovascular disease risk reduction), glucose metabolism and insulin resistance (27.9 percent), and body max index (27.3 percent).