People who eat a Mediterranean diet-rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, oil and fish-are far less likely to develop heart disease, provided they’ve followed it for 10 years.
In fact, they are only half as likely to suffer a heart condition as someone who didn’t adopt the diet or who did so only occasionally.
Their risk of heart disease, which includes stroke, coronary heart disease and heart attack, is 47 per cent lower if they follow it properly for between five and 10 years, say researchers from Harokopio University in Athens.
Their findings are based on a study of more than 2,500 Greek adults, whose health, diet and lifestyle was tracked for 10 years. During the study, 20 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women developed heart disease, some of whom died as a result.
While there is no one Mediterranean diet, it commonly includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, olive oil and even a glass of red wine.
The diet can also reduce the risk of diabetes, weight gain, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
(Source: paper presented to the American College of Cardiology, March 15, 2015)