Going 'nuts' for Mediterranean diet

15 Jun, 2014 02:00 AM
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The study followed more then 7400 people at risk of cardiovascular disease for up to six years. 

A MEDITERRANEAN diet could be the key to better health and increased nut sales according to an international researcher.

Professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó, chairman of the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research presented nut health information at the 33rd World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, in Melbourne last month.

The Congress saw nearly 900 guests from Australia and overseas come together to talk about the current state and future of global nut consumption.

Professor Salas-Salvadó, Spain is a lead researcher on the PREDIMED study, the world’s largest research project on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

The results revealed a Mediterranean diet enriched with a handful (30g) of nuts a day reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (stroke, myocardial infarction and cardiovascular death) by 30 per cent and reduces the risk of stroke by 49pc when compared to a lower-fat diet.

The study followed more then 7400 people at risk of cardiovascular disease for up to six years.

Subsequent research papers have continued to build the story of the benefits of regular nut consumption.

“For me the key take out from the growing body of research is that it’s never too late to benefit from a change in dietary habits,” Professor Salas-Salvadó said.

“The participants involved in the PREDIMED study were all over 55 and at risk of cardiovascular disease, yet including a handful of nuts a day in their diet provided protection from CVD and several other chronic diseases.”

The most recently published study concluded that a Mediterranean diet enriched with a handful of nuts a day provides: 46pc lower risk of peripheral artery disease; 18pc lower risk of diabetes; 39pc lower risk of mortality from all causes; 40pc lower risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common cause of cardiac arrhythmia and condition the increases the risk of stroke five fold; and delayed progression of artery thickness.

“We are currently analysing the bank of data in relation to cognitive function and dementia and look forward to publishing the results in relation to various cancers,” Professor Salas-Salvadó said.

Ashley Walmsley

is the editor of Good Fruit and Vegetables.

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