Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mediterranean Diet Benefits Arteries

Research at the University of Montreal has revealed that while a single meal of "junk food" – composed mainly of saturated fat – is damaging to the arteries, a comparable Mediterranean meal rich in mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids imposes no such damage, and may even be beneficial.

By measuring endothelial function on the inner lining of blood vessels, the researchers were able to determine how easily the arteries dilate following the two types of meals.

In the study of 28 non-smoking men who ate a Mediterranean-type meal first and a junk food-type meal one week later, the team found that after eating the junk food meal the men's arteries dilated 24% less than they did when in the fasting state. In contrast, their arteries dilated normally and maintained good blood flow after the Mediterranean-type meal.

The study also revealed that participants with higher blood triglyceride levels seemed to benefit more from the healthy meals. Their arteries responded better to the Mediterranean meal compared to people with low triglyceride levels.

"We believe that a Mediterranean-type diet may be particularly beneficial for individuals with high triglyceride levels, such as patients with metabolic syndrome, precisely because it could help keep arteries healthy," said Dr. Anil Nigam, Director of Research at the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre (ÉPIC) .

"These results will positively alter how we eat on a daily basis. Poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis. It is now something to think about at every meal."

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies
Artwork: Large Artery

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