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January 19, 2021 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

A Delicious Diet to Reverse Blood Vessel Damage

The Mediterranean pattern of eating just scored a major victory in the cardiac arena. This delectable eating pattern has already proven itself as a diet worthy of preventing heart disease so scientists were eager to put it to the test in heart attack patients.
For this study, scientists placed 1,002 subjects who had previously had a heart attack on one of two test diets – a Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean group was instructed to include extra virgin olive oil regularly and liberally, eat fruits and veggies daily, and include nuts, fish, and legumes three times a week. They were also told to avoid red meat, sweets, margarine, and butter. The low-fat group was told to eat more complex carbs. They were also told to restrict red meat, nuts, sweets, and all fats and oils, both from plants and animals. Both groups underwent a series of blood vessel analyses before and after the yearlong study. The blood vessel tests conducted measured three key things: blood vessel function, blood vessel scarring, and blood vessel repair potential.
The results? Relative to the low-fat group, study subjects adhering to the Mediterranean diet showed superior results in all three blood vessel measurements— better blood flow, better blood vessel repair, and, in the words of the lead researcher, a “drastic reduction” in blood vessel damage.
To think that a diet that is so delicious (and thus so easy to stick to!) can repair and even reverse blood vessel damage is simply remarkable! PLOS Medicine, 2020; 17 (9): e1003282 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003282
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