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Annu Rev Nutr. 2015;35:425-49. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-011215-025104. Epub 2015 May 13.

Mediterranean Dietary Patterns and Cardiovascular Health.

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1
Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute.

Abstract

The Mediterranean dietary pattern has been linked with reduced cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality. Components of the Mediterranean diet associated with better cardiovascular health include low consumption of meat and meat products, moderate consumption of ethanol (mostly from wine), and high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil. Increasing evidence indicates that the synergy among these components results in beneficial changes in intermediate pathways of cardiometabolic risk, such as lipids, insulin sensitivity, oxidative stress, inflammation, and vasoreactivity. As a result, consumption of a Mediterranean dietary pattern favorably affects numerous cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Moreover, strong evidence links this dietary pattern with reduced cardiovascular disease incidence, reoccurrence, and mortality. This review evaluates the current evidence behind the cardioprotective effects of a Mediterranean dietary pattern.

KEYWORDS:

Mediterranean diet; cardiovascular disease; health; prevention

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