Green Mediterranean Diet Twice As Effective At Reducing Blood Vessel Stiffness

Scientists find that a plant-based version of the Mediterranean diet significantly improves vascular health.

<p>The Med diet consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, beans, olive oil and nuts along with some red meat and wine. DEEANA ARTS VIA PEXELS.</p>

A ‘green’ Mediterranean diet is twice as effective as the traditional one at preventing and reducing potentially deadly blood vessel stiffness, say scientists.


The Med diet consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, beans, olive oil and nuts along with some red meat and wine. However, a green version includes more nuts and replacing red meat with a green duckweed shake and drinking three or four cup of green tea a day. This boost in polyphenols, micronutrients from plants, reduced blood vessel stiffness by 15 percent over an 18-month trial involving 300 people.


The traditional Med diet reduces stiffness by 7.3 percent and a recommended healthy diet by 4.8 percent. The team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel said proximal aortic stiffness (PAS) is a marker of vascular aging and increased cardiovascular risk. They pitted the green Mediterranean diet against the healthy Mediterranean diet and a healthy guideline-recommended control diet.


The green version includes a daily intake of walnuts (28 grams), 3-4 cups of green tea and 1 cup of Wolffia-globosa (Mankai) plant green shake of duckweed per day over 18 months. The aquatic green plant Mankai is high in bioavailable iron, B12, 200 kinds of polyphenols and protein, and is, therefore, a good substitute for meat. This is the first time that scientists have presented a powerful, potent effect of diet on the age-related proximal aortic stiffness.


The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) set out to investigate proximal aortic stiffness, a distinct marker of vascular aging and an independent cardiovascular risk factor to predict morbidity and mortality.


“A healthy lifestyle is a strong basis for improving cardiometabolic health. We learned from the results of our experiment that the quality of the diet is crucial for mobilizing atherogenic adipose tissues, lowering cardiometabolic risk, and improving one’s adiposity profile,” said Professor Iris Shai.


“Dietary polyphenols, substituting red meat with equivalent plant-based protein, show promise for improving various aspects of human health. However, to date, no dietary strategies have been shown to impact vascular aging physiology,” she added.


“Maintaining a healthy diet alone is associated with PAS regression. The green-Mediterranean diet provides a 15 percent dramatic reduction in PAS, which is gained by making simple and feasible changes to your diet and lifestyle,” said Co-author Dr. Gal Tsaban.


“The results of our study highlight, once again, that not all diets provide similar benefits and that the green-Mediterranean diet may promote vascular health,” added Dr. Tsaban.


Produced in association with SWNS Talker