Mediterranean-style intake reduces systolic BP, but only in men

  • Hypertension

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • A Mediterranean-style diet for 1 year improved systolic BP in men and reduced arterial stiffness in women.
  • Results are from a population of healthy older people aged 65-79 years in the European NU-AGE study . 

Why this matters

  • This diet varies from the conventional Mediterranean diet because it includes tweaks, such as low sodium intake, to be in keeping with US cardiovascular risk-reduction guidelines.

Key results

  • Systolic BP dropped significantly for men (−9.2 mmHg; P=.02) on the diet but not for women (−3.1 mmHg; P=.37). 
  • Arterial stiffness decreases in women on the diet but not in men (between-group difference, −16.4; 95% CI, −32.2 to −0.6; P=.04).
  • Controls showed no significant changes.
  • The authors say that diet-related features linked to improvements vs controls included intake of nuts, fish, whole grains, olive oil, and fruits/vegetables/legumes.

Study design

  • 1-year randomized controlled trial of 1128 participants (BP measures; arterial stiffness in subset of 225), 5 European centers.
  • Funding: EU Seventh Framework Program.

Limitations

  • Cardiovascular health was only a secondary outcome.
  • Arterial stiffness measured at 1/5 centers.
  • Dietary adherence varied.

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