You already know that adopting a Mediterranean-like diet lowers the risk for almost every disease imaginable. Now, researchers at Tufts University’s USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston report that two foods in that diet – nuts and olive oil – can lower the risk for strokes in older people whose genetic make-up increases their risk for diabetes. Researchers randomly assigned 7,018 people, ages 55- to 80-years, to a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet high in nuts, or a Mediterranean diet high in extra-virgin olive oil. Some of the participants had a genetic trait in common – they shared a mutation in a gene that increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 50%. At the end of five years, results showed that those people with the mutation who followed the low-fat diet were almost three times more likely than others to have a stroke, but those on the Mediterranean diets had a risk about equal with those without the genetic mutation. The researchers conclude that “…switching to a Mediterranean diet …will help those people with risk factors or a family history of disease.” Apparently, even incorporating a few elements of that diet, in this case nuts and/or olive oil, can be helpful.
Corella D, Carrasco P, Sorli J, et al: Mediterranean diet reduces the adverse effect of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 polymorphism on cardiovascular risk factors and stroke incidence. Diabetes Care 2013;August 13th.