Authors of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition state that ‘A dietary pattern common in regions near the Mediterranean appears to reduce risk of all-cause mortality and ischemic heart disease. Data on blacks and Hispanics in the United States are lacking, and to our knowledge only one study has examined a Mediterranean-style diet (MeDi) in relation to stroke’. The study examined a MeDi in relation to vascular events.
Source: Mediterranean-style diet and risk of ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, and vascular death: the Northern Manhattan Study. H Gardener, CB Wright, Y Gu, RT Demmer, B Boden-Albala, MSV Elkind, RL Sacco, and N Scarmeas. Am J Clin Nutr December 2011 ajcn.012799 First published November 9, 2011
The Northern Manhattan Study is a population-based cohort to determine stroke incidence and risk factors (mean ± SD age of participants: 69 ± 10 y; 64% women; 55% Hispanic, 21% white, and 24% black). Diet was assessed at baseline by using a food-frequency questionnaire in 2,568 participants. A higher score on a 0–9 scale represented increased adherence to an MeDi. The relationship between the MeDi score and risk of ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), and vascular death was assessed with Cox models, with control for sociodemographic and vascular risk factors.
The MeDi-score distribution was as follows: 0–2 (14%), 3 (17%), 4 (22%), 5 (22%), and 6–9 (25%). Over a mean follow-up of 9 y, 518 vascular events accrued (171 ischemic strokes, 133 MIs, and 314 vascular deaths). The MeDi score was inversely associated with risk of the composite outcome of ischemic stroke, MI, or vascular death (P-trend = 0.04) and with vascular death specifically (P-trend = 0.02). Moderate and high MeDi scores were marginally associated with decreased risk of MI. There was no association with ischemic stroke.
The authors conclude that higher consumption of an Mediterranean style Diet was associated with decreased risk of vascular events. Results support the role of a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil in the promotion of ideal cardiovascular health and moderate alcohol consumption.