The Mediterranean diet, its components, and cardiovascular disease

R. Jay Widmer, Andreas J. Flammer, Lilach O Lerman, Amir Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

142 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One of the best-studied diets for cardiovascular health is the Mediterranean diet. This consists of fish, monounsaturated fats from olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes/nuts, and moderate alcohol consumption. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the burden, or even prevent the development, of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, depression, colorectal cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma, erectile dysfunction, and cognitive decline. This diet is also known to improve surrogates of cardiovascular disease, such as waist-to-hip ratio, lipids, and markers of inflammation, as well as primary cardiovascular disease outcomes such as death and events in both observational and randomized controlled trial data. These enhancements easily rival those seen with more established tools used to fight cardiovascular disease such as aspirin, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and exercise. However, it is unclear if the Mediterranean diet offers cardiovascular disease benefit from its individual constituents or in aggregate. Furthermore, the potential benefit of the Mediterranean diet or its components is not yet validated by concrete cardiovascular disease endpoints in randomized trials or observational studies. This review will focus on the effects of the whole and parts of the Mediterranean diet with regard to both population-based and experimental data highlighting cardiovascular disease morbidity or mortality and cardiovascular disease surrogates when hard outcomes are not available. Our synthesis will highlight the potential for the Mediterranean diet to act as a key player in cardiovascular disease prevention, and attempt to identify certain aspects of the diet that are particularly beneficial for cardioprotection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Volume128
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

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Mediterranean Diet
Cardiovascular Diseases
Diet
Nuts
Waist-Hip Ratio
Erectile Dysfunction
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
Fabaceae
Alcohol Drinking
Vegetables
Aspirin
Observational Studies
Colorectal Neoplasms
Fruit
Fishes
Asthma
Randomized Controlled Trials
Obesity
Fats
Depression

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Mediterranean diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The Mediterranean diet, its components, and cardiovascular disease. / Widmer, R. Jay; Flammer, Andreas J.; Lerman, Lilach O; Lerman, Amir.

In: American Journal of Medicine, Vol. 128, No. 3, 01.03.2015, p. 229-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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