Mediterranean diet 'could reduce heart failure in older people'

18 November 2016

Older people who consume a Mediterranean-style diet could potentially reduce their risk of developing heart failure.

This is according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which examined a group of mice, finding that ageing and excess dietary fat can create biological signals that lead to heart failure after a heart attack.

A combination of age and excess omega-6 fatty acids in the mice's diet was shown to lead to increased heart inflammation when compared to aged mice that ate a lower-fat diet.

In humans, the typical Western diet has a much higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 acids, whereas the Mediterranean-style diet - which has much less meat - has a significantly lower ratio. People who eat this diet are known to develop heart disease less frequently.

This discovery could be important, as heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death in the UK. If the Mediterranean diet can be shown to cut the risk of heart failure in older people, this would represent an easily attainable lifestyle change that could deliver significant health benefits.

Posted by Philip Briggs

 


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