Researchers tend to believe so, according to the results of a new study of women in the U.S. who reported following a Mediterranean-type diet for 12 consecutive years.

The team consisting of investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health additionally explored the reasons and the ways a Mediterranean diet -a diet rich in plants and olive oil and low in meats and sweets- may mitigate risk of heart disease and stroke via examination of a panel of 40 biomarkers, representing new and established biological contributors to cardiovascular disease. The team’s results are published in JAMA Network Open.

The current research that found a 25 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease draws on data from more than 25,000 female health professionals that participated in the Women’s Health Study. Firstly, they completed food intake questionnaires about diet and provided blood samples and then they were followed for up to 12 years.
“Our study has a strong public health message that modest changes in known cardiovascular disease risk factors, particularly those relating to inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, contribute to the long-term benefit of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk. This understanding may have important downstream consequences for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Shafqat Ahmad, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Brigham and at the Harvard Chan School.

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