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Heart Disease: Not just weight loss, Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of a second heart attack

A new study revealed that the Mediterranean diet might reduce the likelihood of having another heart attack.

A new study revealed that the Mediterranean diet might reduce the likelihood of having another heart attack.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : December 8, 2020 9:02 AM IST

Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. It accounts for more than 17 million deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease that affects the blood flow to the heart, which can cause a heart attack. Making some lifestyle changes like eating healthy may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

A new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found that eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce the likelihood of having another heart attack. People who have suffered from one heart attack are at an increased risk for another one. By taking significant measures and precautions, you can reduce your chance for a second heart attack.

Mediterranean Diet For Heart Attack

Although previous studies have shown the positive effects of the Mediterranean diet, this is the first time that such a study was done with ill patients, who are more likely to have other heart attacks.

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Study author Jose Lopez Miranda from the University of Cordoba in Spain said, "The Mediterranean diet model induced better endothelial function, meaning that the arteries were more flexible in adapting to different situations in which greater blood flow is required."

The endothelium is a thin membrane lining the blood vessels and the inside of the heart. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction. It also produces enzymes that control blood clotting and immune function.

They also observed reduced risk in patients who were at a higher risk of endothelial damage. It was found that better endothelial function may prevent heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.

For the study, the patients were divided into groups of two. While one group was told to eat a Mediterranean diet, another group was asked to follow a low-fat diet.

The Mediterranean diet group included plenty of virgin oil, fruits and vegetables every day. The diet also included three servings of legumes, three of fish and three of nuts a week.

The other group was asked to limit the intake of all kinds of fat and increase their intake of complex carbohydrates. They were asked to cut down on eating red meat and avoid additional foods such as margarine and butter, as well as sugary foods.

After analysing the data, researchers found that eating a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of having another heart attack in people suffering from heart diseases.

What Foods To Include And Avoid When On a Mediterranean Diet?

A Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that includes plenty of vegetables, whole grains, fish and olive oil. Along with healthy foods, it also involves regular physical activity.

Foods To Eat

  • Vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, etc.)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole grains like oats, brown rice, barley, whole wheat, pasta, etc
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Healthy fats
  • Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, dates, figs, etc.
  • Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt
  • Herbs and spices

Foods To Avoid

  • Foods that contain added sugar
  • Refined grains like white bread, pasta, etc.
  • Trans fat found in margarine and other processed foods
  • Processed meat
  • Refined oil

Note: Consult your doctor before making any significant changes in your diet.

(with inputs from IANS)

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