A new report, published September 20 in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke, reveals that risk of stroke in white adults was significantly reduced by closely following a Mediterranean Diet.
Researchers noted that while strokes cause 6.34 million deaths worldwide every year, 90 percent of cases are preventable with lifestyle modifications that include eating a healthy diet.
According to the study, "key components of a traditional MedDiet include olive oil as the main source of fat, high intakes of fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, and low meat and dairy consumption with moderate alcohol consumption," with preventative aspects attributed not to one ingredient, but rather to a synergistic effect between all the foods in the diet.
The more closely participants followed the diet, the more beneficial the results. Overall, women saw a 22 percent reduction in the onset of stroke, with men seeing only a 6 percent decrease that could not rule out chance. The authors reported, "Although the findings in our study were driven by the associations in women, they have implications for the general public and clinicians for prevention of stroke."
The study is one of the largest and longest-running efforts to evaluate the potential benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet in lowering the risk of stroke, and it evaluated 23,232 adults between the age of 40 and 77 for over 17 years.