HealthDay News — Closely following the Mediterranean diet can significantly lower heart disease risk, another study suggests.

The study included more than 2,500 Greek adults, aged 18 to 89, whose diets and health were tracked for 10 years. Nearly 20% of men and 12% of women in the study developed or died from heart disease.

People who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 47% less likely to develop heart disease than those who did not closely follow the diet. The researchers also found that adhering to a Mediterranean diet was more protective against heart disease than physical activity.

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“Our study shows that the Mediterranean diet is a beneficial intervention for all types of people — in both genders, in all age groups, and in both healthy people and those with health conditions,” Ekavi Georgousopoulou, a PhD candidate at Harokopio University in Athens, said in an ACC news release. “It also reveals that the Mediterranean diet has direct benefits for heart health, in addition to its indirect benefits in managing diabetes, hypertension, and inflammation.”

The findings will be presented March 15 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), held from March 14 to 16 in San Diego. 

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