London: A diet rich in olive oil, nuts and other Mediterranean foods reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from heart disease by up to 30 percent, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine."We observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons," the study stated.Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, described the findings of the study as "really impressive"."They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters," Johnson told The New York Times.The Mediterranean diet includes olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables, fish and poultry, along with at least one glass of wine with daily meals, and reduced amounts of dairy products, red meat and sweets.Researchers have long observed that people from Mediterranean countries tend to have lower levels of heart disease, but it was not clear if that was hereditary, linked to lifestyle or due to the difference in diet.
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