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Mediterranean Diet, a weapon against arteriosclerosis

29 January 2015

Borges - Mediterranean diet

Did you know that the Mediterranean diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil and nuts can reverse arteriosclerosis in just one year?

Mediterranean diet and extra virgin olive oil, rich in polyphenols, are a useful tool to prevent arteriosclerosis. The evidence is provided by the PREDIMED study. The results show that adapting our eating habits in favor of the Mediterranean diet and high consumption of extra virgin olive oil reduces by 66% the risk of symptomatic peripheral artery disease.

What is arteriosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis is a disease that affects the arterial walls, with a slow and progressive development, producing a narrowing of the artery and causing stiffness in its lining. Sometimes arteriosclerosis can plug the vessel and impede blood flow.

According to the arterial affected area, different clinical manifestations may occur:

– If it affects the coronary arteries, a myocardial infarction, angina pectoris or sudden death.

– If those affected are arteries from the central nervous system, the result may be a stroke and transient ischemic attack.

– If it affects leg arteries, you may suffer intermittent claudication (a pain in the legs that will not let you walk) and gangrene.

Extra virgin olive oil, your best ally

There is a relationship between the consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and some cancers. The extra virgin olive oil has several unique qualities including lipid content (a high proportion of monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid) and high levels of squalene, vitamin E and polyphenols, antioxidants that, with its absorption, can modify our metabolism.

The Mediterranean diet should include at least a daily intake of 25-50 ml extra virgin olive oil: 2 tablespoons per day.

PREDIMED was the first clinical study showing that an intervention on our diet can reduce the risk of peripheral artery disease. Those with thickened arterial walls due to arteriosclerosis, improved significantly and there was a regression of lesions in people who followed a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil or nuts.

According to Professor Martínez-González, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, this is the major benefit demonstrated by PREDIMED study on the Mediterranean diet, with a reduction of 66% in the risk of suffering arteriosclerosis (versus the 30% of improvement achieved in cases of cardiovascular disease).

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