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Mediterranean Diet Protects Vascular System

Elderly adults who consume a diet rich in fish, olive oil, fresh vegetables, and vitamin E experience a reduced risk of blood vessel obstruction in the extremities, or peripheral arterial disease, according to a research team in Italy.

The researchers used questionnaires to evaluate the nutritional and dietary intake of 1,251 home-dwelling individuals who averaged 68 years of age. Using the ankle-brachial index test, they then assessed the presence of peripheral arterial disease.

A greater intake of olive oil, was associated with decreased risk, with intake of 34 grams or more per day decreasing risk by more than 60%. Greater blood levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) also were associated with reduced risk of peripheral arterial disease; in fact, each 10-mg/dL increase in HDL produced a 24% lower risk. Furthermore, vitamin E intake dramatically lowered risk, with each 7.7 mg of vitamin E consumed daily producing a dramatic 63% risk reduction.

There are a number of good fish oils on the market, but one of the best new ways to get omega-3 polyunsaturated fats is from krill oil.


Antonelli-Incalzi R, Pedone C, McDermott MM, et al. Association between nutrient intake and peripheral artery disease: results from the InCHIANTI study. Atherosclerosis. 2006 May;186(1):200-6.

Key concepts: bone mineral density, cola, osteoporosis, phosphoric acid