HealthDay News — A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts may help prevent peripheral artery disease (PAD) in addition to other previously demonstrated health benefits, according to researchers.
Among 7,477 participants, those who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had a significantly lower risk for developing PAD compared with controls assigned to a control of low-fat diet counseling, Miguel Ruiz-Canela, PhD, from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, and colleagues reported in a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized primary prevention trial to suggest an association between a dietary intervention and PAD,” the researchers wrote. “These results are consistent with previous observational studies and relevant from a public health perspective.”
The Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED), a multicenter trial conducted between October 2003 and December 2010 in Spain, involved men aged 55 to 80 years and women aged 60 to 80 years without clinical PAD or baseline cardiovascular disease, but with type 2 diabetes or at least three cardiovascular risk factors.
Participants were randomly assigend to either Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts; or low-fat diet counseling (control group).
All participants received a detailed dietary educational program every three months. Over five years, 89 participants had developed PAD.
Both Mediterranean diet interventions correlated with reduced risk for PAD compared with the control group, with hazard ratios of 0.34 for the Mediterranean diet plus extra-virgin olive oil and 0.50 for the Mediterranean diet plus nuts, after adjustment for classic atherosclerotic risk factors.
There was no significant difference in PAD risk between the active intervention groups (hazard ratio 0.71; 95% CI: 0.38-1.33).
To prevent one case of PAD per year, the number needed to treat was 336 for the Mediterranean diet plus extra-virgin olive oil and 448 for the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group.