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A Mediterranean diet and risk of myocardial infarction, heart failure and stroke: A population-based cohort study

      Highlights

      • Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of MI, HF and ischemic stroke.
      • There was no association between Mediterranean diet and hemorrhagic stroke.
      • The Mediterranean diet is likely to be beneficial in primary prevention of atherosclerosis related cardiovascular disease.

      Abstract

      Background and aims

      The Mediterranean diet, which is palatable and easily achievable, has been associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence and mortality. Data on heart failure (HF) and stroke types are lacking. The aim was to examine a Mediterranean diet in relation to incidence of myocardial infarction (MI), HF and stroke types in a Swedish prospective cohort.

      Methods

      In a population-based cohort of 32,921 women, diet was assessed through a self-administered questionnaire. The modified Mediterranean diet (mMED) score was created based on high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fermented dairy products, fish and monounsaturated fat, moderate intakes of alcohol and low consumption of red meat, on a 0–8 scale. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusted for potential confounders, were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression models.

      Results

      During 10 y of follow-up (1998–2008), 1109 MIs, 1648 HFs, 1270 ischemic strokes and 262 total hemorrhagic strokes were ascertained. A high adherence to the mMED score (6–8), compared to low, was associated with a lower risk of MI (RR: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.61–0.90, p = 0.003), HF (RR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.68–0.93, p = 0.004) and ischemic stroke (RR: 0.78, 95% CI: 0.65–0.93, p = 0.007), but not hemorrhagic stroke (RR: 0.88, 95% CI: 0.61–1.29, p = 0.53).

      Conclusions

      Better adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with lower risk of MI, HF and ischemic stroke. The Mediterranean diet is most likely to be beneficial in primary prevention of all major types of atherosclerosis-related CVD.

      Keywords

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