Mediterranean foods are better than Statins at lowering cholesterol, says new study

Research into 1,200 people with a history of heart disease showed the Mediterranean diet was better than the widely prescribed drug

Mediterranean diet

[Flickr/MIKI Yoshihito]

A new study into the much-feted Mediterranean diet has claimed that it is more effective at fighting high cholesterol than statins, the drub commonly prescribed by doctors to treat it. The research found that people who consume a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were 37% less likely to die early, compared with peers whose diet consists of fat-rich foods like butter and red meat.

The study, lead by epidemiologist Prof Giovanni de Gaetano, was presented at a global conference on heart disease in Rome.

“So far research has focused on the general population, which is mainly composed of healthy people,” de Gaetano said. “What happens to people who have already suffered from cardiovascular disease? Is the Mediterranean diet optima for them too?”

Charting the dietary regimen and health of 1,200 volunteers with a history of heart attacks, strokes and block arteries for seven years, the study lost 208 participants along the way. But the results published reveal that those whose diet was most closely aligned to the Mediterranean style were statistically less likely to die.

After adjusting the data to account for sex, age, class, exercise habits and other lifestyle traits, the researchers revealed that those eating Mediterranean foods were 37% less likely to be listed among the paper’s fatalities than those who were furtherst from the eating habits.

In most clinical research to date, cholesterol-lowering medication like statins has been pushed as the most effective way to target heart disease, which is responsible for the deaths of 10,000 people in Ireland every year, roughly 33% of all deaths in the country.

For more food news on Newstalk.com, please click here.