Mediterranean diet could reduce risk of coronary artery disease in Asian populations

November 07, 2002

Results of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlight how the adoption of a Mediterranean-style diet could help reduce cardiovascular disease in Asian populations, especially among Asian people living in western countries.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major public-health problem for south Asian people-however it is not explained by conventional risk factors such as high blood pressure or increased cholesterol concentrations. The American Heart Association (AHA) has highlighted the health benefits of a mediterranean-style diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid

RB Singh from Moradabad, India and Elliot Berry from Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel, and colleagues, did a randomised trial among 1000 patients with a history of health outcomes associated with CAD (including angina, heart attack, and diabetes). Half were allocated to a diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid (eg. whole grains, fruits, vegetables, walnuts, and almonds); the other half (the control group) were given a conventional Asian diet. The main analysis took place two years after the start of the study.

The average daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid was doubled among patients given the enhanced (Indo-Mediterranean) diet; this group also had fewer cardiac events (39 compared with 76) after two years follow-up. A halving of sudden cardiac death and in the proportion of non-fatal heart attacks was also reported among patients given the enhanced diet.

Elliot Berry comments: "Our trial in a non-Western population has shown that, over 2 years, a diet enriched with fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and mustard or soy bean oil is associated with a pronounced decline in CAD morbidity and mortality, without an increase in non-cardiac deaths, and in the presence of improved metabolic profiles. The long-term benefits may be even more substantial."
Professor Elliot M Berry, Department of Human Nutrition & Metabolism, Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, PO Box 12272,
Jerusalem, 91120, Israel;
T) 972-2-675-8298;
F) 972-2-643-1105;


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