Specific Diet Shown to Cut Women’s Risk of Heart Disease by 24%

by Ella

Following a Mediterranean diet could significantly reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease, according to a new study. This dietary pattern, rich in nuts, seafood, whole grains, and vegetables, is associated with numerous health benefits. Recent research also suggests that adhering to a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of developing dementia in later life.


The Study and Its Findings

The latest study, published in the journal Heart, consolidates previous research on the relationship between the Mediterranean diet, cardiovascular disease, and mortality among women. Researchers pooled data from 16 studies involving over 720,000 women who were monitored for cardiovascular health over an average period of 12.5 years.


The team, led by academics from the University of Sydney in Australia, found compelling evidence that women who followed a Mediterranean diet closely were 24% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Additionally, these women had a 23% lower risk of dying from any cause during the follow-up period. “We found that a Mediterranean diet was beneficial in women, with a 24% lower risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease) and a 23% lower risk of total mortality,” the authors reported.


Expert Insights

Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, highlighted the significance of these findings. “It’s long been known that eating a Mediterranean-style diet is good for your heart, but it’s encouraging to see this research suggest that when we look at women separately from men, the benefits remain,” she said. Taylor emphasized that heart disease is often perceived as a male problem, yet coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK annually.


Taylor stressed the importance of sex-specific research in reducing the heart disease gender gap and improving women’s care. She advocated for a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet to lower the risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

“It’s easy to do – make sure you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, fish, nuts and seeds, along with some low-fat dairy and fat from unsaturated sources like olive oil. It’s also important to eat less processed meat, salt, and sweet treats,” Taylor advised.

Broader Implications of the Mediterranean Diet

Impact on Dementia

In a separate study, researchers from Newcastle University found that individuals adhering to a strict Mediterranean diet had a 23% lower risk of developing dementia compared to those with low adherence. These findings, published in the journal BMC Medicine, were based on data from more than 60,000 participants from the UK Biobank—a comprehensive database of medical and lifestyle records of over half a million Britons.

General Health Benefits

The Mediterranean diet is lauded not just for its impact on heart health but also for its overall health benefits. The diet’s emphasis on plant-based foods, healthy fats, and lean protein sources contributes to its effectiveness in reducing chronic disease risk. Its anti-inflammatory properties are particularly beneficial in preventing conditions associated with ageing and lifestyle factors.


The Mediterranean diet offers a promising approach to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving overall health, particularly for women. With substantial evidence supporting its benefits, adopting this dietary pattern can be a straightforward and effective strategy for enhancing health outcomes. Health professionals and researchers continue to advocate for the Mediterranean diet as part of a holistic approach to disease prevention and health promotion. As more studies underscore its benefits, the Mediterranean diet stands out as a key component of a healthy lifestyle for individuals of all ages and genders.


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