Search Health Studies

Search Results

Mediterranean Diet Linked with 44% Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Prospective studies, which follow groups of people over long periods of time, help researchers to identify patterns for chronic diseases like heart disease that often appear later in life. In this prospective study, nearly 2,000 adults were followed for 20 years to see if their diet had any relationship with developing heart disease down the road. Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 44% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease during the 20-year study, even after adjusting for family history, smoking, physical activity, and other risk factors. The authors also suggested that inflammation and kidney function may play a role in this relationship.
Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2024 Jan;34(1):153-166. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2023.09.019. (Georgoulis M et al.)

Mediterranean Diet in Pregnancy May Improve Neurodevelopment in Children

Lifestyle habits during pregnancy can support healthy growth and development for babies and children. To measure prenatal interventions on neurodevelopment, more than 600 pregnant mothers were randomly assigned to a Mediterranean diet (receiving free olive oil and walnuts), a mindfulness-based stress relief program, or a control group that received their usual prenatal care. When the children they delivered were 24 months old, they were then assessed for neurodevelopment outcomes. Compared with the control group, children in the Mediterranean diet group scored higher in the cognitive and social-emotional domain, and children in the mindfulness group also scored higher in the social-emotional domain.
JAMA Network Open. 2023 Aug 1;6(8):e2330255. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.30255. (Crovetto F et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Lower Risk of Death in Women with Breast Cancer

To see if diet might relate to breast cancer survival, researchers analyzed the pre-diagnosis eating habits of 13,270 women with breast cancer and followed them for more than 8 years after diagnosis. Low compared with medium adherence to a Mediterranean diet before breast cancer diagnosis was linked with a 13% higher risk of all-cause mortality, while each 3-unit increase in the 16-point Mediterranean diet score was linked with an 8% reduced risk of mortality. The results were especially strong in cases of metastatic breast cancer.
BMC Medicine. 2023 Jun 26;21(1):225. doi: 10.1186/s12916-023-02934-3. (Castro-Espin C et al.)

No Need to Avoid Pasta on Weight Loss Diets

Pasta is low-glycemic index food, meaning that it has a gentler impact on blood sugar than many other carbohydrate foods. However, many people are confused about how pasta fits into a healthy diet. In this review, researchers analyzed 38 studies to better understand how pasta intake relates to body weight. Some studies found no relationship between eating pasta and body weight, while other studies found that eating pasta was related to a lower risk of overweight and obesity. Overall, the evidence suggests that pasta does not cause weight gain, especially when pasta is eaten in the context of an overall healthy diet.
Nutrients. 2023 Jun 9;15(12):2689. doi: 10.3390/nu15122689. (Sanders LM et al.)

Mediterranean Diet May Be Linked with Improved Fertility, More Research is Needed

A Mediterranean diet includes many of the foods and food groups that are recommended for fertility, so researchers set out to measure if the Mediterranean diet itself had any relationship on fertility markers. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 studies, researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet is linked with live births, pregnancy rate, sperm concentration, and sperm count, but that these outcomes are inconsistent across the studies. The researchers conclude that a Mediterranean diet “indicates sperm improvement and a possibility of better pregnancy outcomes,” but that data are insufficient to make clinical recommendations.
Nutr Rev. 2023 Jun 9;81(7):775-789. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuac087. (Muffone ARMC et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Death in At-Risk Individuals

At Mediterranean diet is well-known for its link with heart health, but researchers wanted to see how this tried-and-true eating pattern stacks up against other popular diet plans, like low carb or low sodium. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers analyzed 40 studies in which a total of more than 35,000 people at risk of heart disease were randomly assigned to 7 different popular diets or a minimal intervention control group, to see which popular diets are most effective of preventing heart disease and mortality. They found that Mediterranean diets reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by 28%, heart disease mortality by 45%, stroke by 35%, and nonfatal heart attacks by 52%. Mediterranean diets were more effective than any other diet studied, many of which were no better than the control group.
BMJ. 2023 Mar 29;380:e072003. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2022-072003. (Karam G et al.)

Mediterranean Diet More Affordable and Nutritious Than Typical Western Diet

Healthy eating is assumed to be more expensive, but if you actually price it out, a well-planned Mediterranean diet can be more affordable than the typical Western diet eaten today. Researchers in Australia priced out grocery baskets for 7 days worth of meals following a Mediterranean diet, a typical Western diet, and a diet based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (Australia’s dietary guidelines). The groceries were also analyzed for their ability to meet recommended nutrient intakes. Both the Australian Healthy Eating basket and the Mediterranean diet basket met nearly all nutrient needs, while the typical Western diet basket did not. The Mediterranean diet basket was found to be cheaper than the Australian Healthy Eating Basket for nearly all family sizes (except $3 more per week for single-person households) and cheaper than the typical Western diet at all family sizes studied. 
Nutrients. 2023 Mar 30;15(7):1692. doi: 10.3390/nu15071692.(Bracci EL et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with 25% Lower Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women, meaning that lifestyle changes to support heart health are of the utmost importance. In a meta-analysis of 16 prospective cohort studies (in which more than 700,000 women were followed over time), women most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 24% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, were 23% less likely to die, and were 25% less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those not following a Mediterranean diet.
Heart. 2023 Mar 14;heartjnl-2022-321930. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2022-321930. (Pant A et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with 23% Lower Risk of Dementia, Regardless of Genetic Risk Factors

Mediterranean diets have been linked with brain health and lower dementia risk in small studies, but researchers wanted to see how this relationship holds up in larger studies and in people who are genetically predisposed to dementia. In a study of 60,298 older adults in the UK, those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 23% less likely to develop dementia over the 9 year study period, independent of a person’s genetic risk for dementia.
BMC Med. 2023 Mar 14;21(1):81. doi: 10.1186/s12916-023-02772-3. (Shannon OM et al.)

Mediterranean Diet During Pregnancy Linked with 21% Lower Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

Adverse pregnancy outcomes (such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, small-for-gestational age, and stillbirth) can put both mothers and babies at risk. In this prospective study of 7,798 pregnant women across the US, those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 21% less likely to develop any of the adverse pregnancy outcomes described above and were also 28% less likely to develop preeclampsia and 37% less likely to develop gestational diabetes. The researchers noted a dose-response relationship for risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, meaning that the closer a mother’s diet aligned with the Mediterranean diet, the lower the risk.
JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Dec 1;5(12):e2248165. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.48165.

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Lower Risk of Frailty in Older Adults

Frailty in aging may lead to falls, fractures, disability, and other serious health risks, so dietary strategies to prevent frailty in older adults are of great importance. In a study of 2,384 nonfrail adults from the Framingham Offspring Study (average age 60 years), those most closely following a Mediterranean diet had a 38% lower risk of developing frailty than those not adhering to a Mediterranean diet. Additionally, each 10-mg increase of total carotenoids and vitamin E (antioxidants found in many Mediterranean diet foods) reduced the risk of frailty by 16%.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Sep 2;116(3):630-639. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac130. (Millar et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with More Years in Life and More Life in Years

Healthy life expectancy is a measure of how long a person lives in “full health” without disease or injury. In an analysis of the diets and health outcomes of people in 130 countries around the world, following a Mediterranean diet was significantly associated with both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy even after controlling for things like socio-economic status and health indicators.
J Nutr Health Aging. 2022;26(6):621-627. doi: 10.1007/s12603-022-1811-y. (A Sezaki et al.)