(HealthDay News) – For adults at high cardiovascular risk, adherence to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts correlates with a reduced risk of major cardiovascular events, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, held from Feb. 24–26 in Loma Linda, CA.
Ramón Estruch, MD, PhD, from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, and colleagues conducted a multicenter trial in Spain involving 7,447 adults (aged 55–80 years; 57% women) to examine the benefit of a Mediterranean diet for primary prevention of cardiovascular events. Participants at high cardiovascular risk but free from cardiovascular disease were randomized to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts; or a control group advised to reduce dietary fat.
The researchers found that major cardiovascular events occurred in 288 participants. Compared with the control group (109 events), there was a significantly reduced risk in the Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil group (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.70; 96 events) and in the Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts group (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.72; 83 events). There were no diet-related adverse events.
“In this primary prevention trial, we observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries.