A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that consumption of Mediterranean diets enriched with tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) and extra virgin olive oil decreased the incidence of major cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular mortality.
In a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial, 7,447 participants (55 to 80 years old; women, 57%) at high risk of cardiovascular disease, but no cardiovascular disease at enrolment, were randomized to one of three diets: Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a low-fat control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat). Participants received quarterly individual and group educational sessions and, depending on group assignment, free provisions of extra virgin olive oil, mixed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts), or small non-food gifts. The primary end point was the rate of major cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular death).
The two Mediterranean diet groups achieved good adherence to the intervention based on self-reported intakes and blood biomarker measurements. The results of an interim analysis prompted stopping the trial after a median follow-up of 4.8 years. A major cardiovascular event occurred in 288 participants. Individuals in the Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil group (96 events) and in the Mediterranean diet with nuts group (83 events) had respectively a 30% and 28% less cardiovascular events and mortality than those in the control low-fat diet; versus the control group (109 events). No diet-related adverse effects or weight gain were reported during the trial.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine.