ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mediterranean Diet: Heart Disease Effects

Updated on October 26, 2009

There has been a growing amount of clinical evidence published in the peer reviewed journals as of late showing that the Mediterranean diet benefits individuals suffering from a wide variety of cardiovascular ailments.

A large Italian study called the GISSI-Prevenzione study suggests that the Mediterranean Diet may be particularly beneficial for those who have already had a heart attack. Even though the Mediterranean diet has been associated with prevention of heart disease, few studies have examined the benefit of this diet in patients who have already suffered a heart attack.

The GISSI study examined the dietary habits of 11,324 Italians after their heart attacks tracking their eating habits with questionnaires administered 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after the event. Researchers also assessed the effectiveness of taking vitamins and fish oil capsules containing Omega 3 fatty acids.

In the analysis the researchers divided the participants into five categories based on how much fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil and butter they consumed. The researchers found that, compared with those who ate a quintessential Mediterranean diet rich in plant foods and olive oil, those who consumed the most butter had a 2.6 greater chance of dying within 42 months after their heart attack.

They also found that taking one gram of omega-3 fatty acid, the kind found in cold water fish and walnuts, could reduce the risk of death by 20 percent.

Even though weight loss is beneficial, this study found that eating the right kinds of foods promotes heart health even in the absence of weight loss, and that these effects extend to obese patients as well.

These results, which were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions, reaffirm the importance of what we eat and underscore the value of the Mediterranean diet.

We have cholesterol in every cell in our body. Only about 5% of our cholesterol is in our blood. Cholesterol is one of the blood fats or blood lipids. The other main blood lipid is triglyceride. The blood fats do not dissolve in water so we make particles called lipoproteins to carry them. All lipoproteins carry some cholesterol and some triglyceride in varying amounts.

The main carrier of blood cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL is made from another lipoprotein: very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol. VLDL is a large lipoprotein made by the liver to carry mainly triglyceride. The VLDL travels around the body to deliver triglyceride to different cells. When the VLDL loses most of the triglyceride it becomes a smaller lipoprotein that is mainly cholesterol and is the LDL particle. High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is made in the liver and in the intestinal tract. The exact function of HDL is not yet known. It seems to work to bring cholesterol from different parts of the body back to the liver.

When you have your blood lipids measured you will receive a value for total cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides. The total cholesterol equals the cholesterol carried by the HDL, the LDL and the VLDL. The VLDL is mainly triglyceride and can be calculated by dividing the triglyceride by 5. The equation looks like this:

total cholesterol = HDL + LDL + (triglycerides/5)

LDL is always calculated and is done so by rearranging the equation:

LDL= TC - HDL - VLDL (triglyceride/5)

Cholesterol is a significant factor in cardiovascular disease and it's interesting to note that the Mediterranean diet has integral elements to combat this deadly factor.

Continued In The Mediterranean Diet: Walnuts & Cholesterol

Back To Start

Disclaimer: The information on this Hub page does not constitute medical, legal, commercial, product, and/or service advice or endorsement of any vendor, supplier and/or brand, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author. Listing of an entity or service on this Hub page is not a warranty of the quality or efficacy of the products or services furnished by any entity. The author is not directly compensated by any entity other than the advertising placement services shown on this page.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)