Sep, 2021 - By WMR
Calories and nutrients are the foundation of human health, which can be derived from plant and animal sources. The human species has been omnivores throughout the evolution period and this classification is evident by the presence of sucrases in our gut enabling us to digest fruit and numerous proteases that enable us to digest animal protein. Plant-rich diets have been associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Now, a study by a team of researchers from University of Missouri–Kansas City, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Missouri, Tulane Medical Center, Louisiana, University of Queensland School of Medicine, Louisiana, University of Barcelona, and CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, reported that a Pesco-Mediterranean diet is ideal for optimizing cardiovascular health. The research was published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology on September 12, 2020.
The Mediterranean diet mostly includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains along with moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs, and seafood. The Pesco-Mediterranean diet is primarily a plant-rich diet, which also includes seafood, which provides various vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, otherwise not accessible in vegetarian or vegan diets. It has a daily time-restricted eating window of 8 to 12 hours. Several studies have suggested that this traditional Mediterranean diet can aid in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cognitive decline, neurodegenerative diseases, and depression. The diet can also reduce overall cancer mortality. Given the benefits of a traditional Mediterranean diet, several organizations have come forward to plant-based and Mediterranean diets along with fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and lean vegetable or animal protein.
The study, testing 3 types of diets, was conducted in Spain in older individuals at high risk but with no CVD. One type included a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and the other type was supplemented with mixed nuts. The third type was a low-fat diet. The team found that the individuals that consumed the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reported 29% decrease in major adverse CVD events that included myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from these causes. Moreover, the participants also reported 42% decrease in stroke. The Mediterranean diet was high on extra-virgin olive oil and nuts, fish/seafood, and legumes. Although the total fat intake increased from 39% to 42%, the participants consumed a lower amount of saturated fat.
The quality of olive oil plays a major role in efficacy of the traditional Mediterranean diet. Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined and is obtained by cold pressing olives. Such oil is high in hydrophilic components of olives, with reduced LDL-C and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The consumption of extra-virgin olive oil thus aids in improving vascular reactivity, enhancing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol functionality, and lowering the risk of diabetes. The study concluded that a Pesco-Mediterranean diet offers various health benefits, especially in terms of cardiovascular health.