By Roberto Mendez. | The Mediterranean diet Evidence of its benefits continues to accumulate in the most recent studies. It has been associated on several occasions with a minor dementia risk and cerebrovascular riskand there are proven reasons for years to defend that this dietary pattern is especially beneficial for the heart.

Now, a newly published study in heto magazine Heart corroborates not only the protective potential of the Mediterranean diet, but also its particular benefits in women. Specifically, it has come to appreciate 25% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in those who continuously follow the diet.

Cardiovascular diseases represent more than a third of all female deaths in the worldand are the leading cause of death for women in Spain according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). It is known that a healthy diet is essential to prevent them, but the researchers point out that the most relevant clinical trials have included relatively few women, or have not reported their results by gender.

In addition, it should be remembered that the current guidelines on cardiovascular risk do not usually differentiate health advice according to sex from each person. To guide clinical practice, they searched research databases for studies looking at the potential impact of following a Mediterranean diet on women’s cardiovascular health, as well as their protection against the risk of death.

Let us remember that a Mediterranean diet is based on the following food groups:

– Whole grains (integral).

– Fruit.

– Vegetables.

– Nuts and seeds.

– Legumes.

– Fish and shellfish.

– Olive oil.

In this case, the researchers found 190 relevant studies in the databases, but ultimately only included 16 jobs published between 2003 and 2021 in their analyzes of pooled data. They were carried out mainly in the United States and Europe, where they participated more than 700,000 women 18 years or older. Their cardiovascular health was monitored for an average of 12.5 years.

According to results, following a Mediterranean diet would be associated with a 24% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23% lower risk of mortality for any cause in women. Also, the risk of coronary heart disease was 25% lower. The risk of stroke was also lower, but not statistically significant, in women with greater adherence to the diet compared to those with less adherence.

Still, researchers acknowledge several limitations in their findings: all the studies analyzed were observational and based on self-reported food frequency questionnaires. In addition, the adjustments for potentially influential factors varied between the included studies.

Some of the hypotheses considered by the researchers would be the effects antioxidants and of the gut microbiome of the Mediterranean diet on inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors. In addition, some components of the diet such as polyphenolsnitrates and omega-3 fatty acidsBesides the wealth in fiber wave low glycemic loadcould separately contribute to a better cardiovascular profile.

However, as they also explain, the mechanisms that explain the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and gender-specific effects in terms of cardiovascular risk are still unclear. The premature menopause, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or other predominantly female risk factors such as systemic lupus may independently increase cardiovascular risk. An anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet would be a good option in this case.

Speaking to SMCDolores Corella, professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Valencia, and researcher at CIBER Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN), emphasizes the need for better studies stratified by sex. “More original, well-designed studies are needed to verify that the effect of the Mediterranean diet is greater in women. It is necessary to have better questionnaires to measure diet in men and women, including confounding variables such as pregnancy or menopause, among others”.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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