¡Ciao! down: Mediterranean diet after a heart attack adds years to life

PUFA and vitamin E.

N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids include a particular kind of fat that is typically found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna and herring. The amount of n-3 PUFA in other foods is minimal, says Marchioli. This study demonstrated that taking one gram of n-3 PUFA daily, in addition to following their doctors lifestyle and dietary recommendations, could lower the risk of death after heart attack by 20 percent.

GISSI-Prevenzione participants had experienced heart attacks within the three months before the study began, and received routine examinations from their cardiologists for three and a half years. Their intake of certain foods was tracked with a questionnaire given just after their heart attack and again six, 12, 18 and 42 months later.

Study participants were divided into five categories according to how much of their diet consisted of fresh and cooked vegetables, fruit, fish, olive oil and butter. The number of patient deaths in each category was noted over the duration of the study. Compared to those with ideal dietary habits, those who consumed the most butter had a 2.6 times greater risk of dying within 42 months after their heart attack.

The dietary benefits extended to individuals who were obese, as defined by a body mass index greater than 30. Body mass index is a formula to assess a persons body weight relative to height.

Though the body mass index of overweight people did not change significantly during follow-up, their dietary habits improved after their heart attacks, says Marchioli. Their intake of healthy foods was relatively high at baseline and further improved during follow-up.

Researchers found that improving life-style habits such as eliminating stress, getting more exercise, stopping smoking and eating a healthy diet and compliance to prescribed drug treatment are the keys to preventing the recurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Particular attention should be paid to having good d

Contact: Darcy Spitz
American Heart Association

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