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Cholesterol: The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk
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Forget statins - the traditional Mediterranean diet can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol dramatically, even among people who are at high risk of heart disease

Forget statins - the traditional Mediterranean diet can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol dramatically, even among people who are at high risk of heart disease.

A new study - which claims to be the first to properly measure the benefits of the diet - found that even participants who adopted just a part of the diet saw enormous benefits.

Researchers tested two variations of the diet - one with generous use of virgin olive oil and the other which included the eating of nuts - against a standard, low-fat diet on a group of 372 participants aged between 55 and 80 years, who were all at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Both versions of the Mediterranean diet - which concentrates on fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish rather than meat - had a positive effect on the participants' heart health profile, whereas the low-fat diet had a neutral effect. Even participants who did not stick rigidly to the diet, but who adopted only parts of it, also saw an enormous improvement in their cholesterol profile.

(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007; 167: 1195-1203).

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