Olive Oil, Nuts Better Than Drugs for Heart Disease

Early results from a Spanish cohort study featuring 7500 people with heart disease risk have found Mediterranean diets high in virgin olive oil and nuts are more effective in reducing heart disease event likelihood than drug treatments.

The team of Spanish researchers published initial findings in the trial that is due to complete next year in Atherosclerosis, reporting significant improvements in groups eating traditional Mediterranean diets plus virgin olive oil or nuts, compared to those on a low-fat diet.

Among the over-55s artery thickness was lower in the virgin olive oil and nut groups but only among those who already had somewhat thickened arteries.

One of the researchers, Dr Miguel Angel Martínez-González, from the Department of Preventative Medicine at the University of Navarra, said the findings emphasised the value of dietary versus pharma interventions in controlling cardiovascular event likelihood.

They showed that, “a modification in the entire diet pattern managed to achieve, in just one year, results that pharmaceutical drugs did not – even after two years of treatment.”

However, “This improvement was not observed amongst those who did not have thickening of the artery wall at the start of the study.”

The results showed the nut and virgin olive oil groups after three months had improved adolipoprotein ratios that delivered lower heart disease risk for both men and women.

For men, the number at high-risk dropped 5%, while 16.6% of women fell from high-medium status to low cardiometabolic risk.

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