Researchers at the University of Navarra, in Pamplona, Spain, have found a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or extra-virgin olive oil can do more than reduce heart attack and stroke. Randomized trials conducted from October 2003 until December 2010 have shown the diet can also lower the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Miguel Ruiz- Canela, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Navarra assessed the association of the Mediterranean diet with the occurrence of symptomatic PAD in 7,477 participants without clinical PAD or baseline cardiovascular disease. Participants did need to have type 2 diabetes mellitus or at least three cardiovascular risk factors. Participants were randomized to one of three groups: the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, and the control group which received counseling on a low fat diet. Both Mediterranean diet interventions were associated with a lower risk of PAD compared with the control group.