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Mediterranean Diet Lowers Risk of Peripheral Artery Disease

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts is associated with a lower risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a research letter published in the Jan. 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Miguel Ruiz-Canela, Ph.D., from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, and colleagues conducted a multicenter, randomized, primary prevention feeding trial between October 2003 and December 2010. Eligible participants (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) were randomized to either Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts; or low-fat diet counseling (control group).

The researchers found that 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 between the active intervention groups (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.38 to 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.

"To our knowledge, this is the first randomized primary prevention trial to suggest an association between a dietary intervention and PAD," the authors write. "These results are consistent with previous observational studies and relevant from a public health perspective."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the International Nut Council. Supplemental foods used in the study were donated by Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero and Hojiblanca, the California Walnut Commission, Borges S.A., and La Morella Nuts.

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