Latest scientific news 26 June 2024

Long-term adherence to a Mediterranean diet can prevent high blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most widely prevalent and potent causes of ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, as well as premature death worldwide. A healthy lifestyle, incorporating a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and abstaining from or quitting smoking, is the cornerstone approach to prevent/treat high blood pressure and lower CVD risk. According to recent guidelines to prevent and treat hypertension, the optimal dietary pattern is characterized by a high consumption of nutrient-dense plant-based foods, healthy fats/oils (especially olive oil), lean protein sources, salt (sodium) restriction and a responsible alcohol consumption pattern (usually defined as no more than 2 standard drinks per day for men or 1 standard drink per day for women). These principles translate into the Mediterranean dietary pattern.

The purpose of the current prospective study was to evaluate the long-term association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet (assessed through the Med Diet Score), both at baseline and throughout the study (2002-2022), and the 20-year incidence of high blood pressure in a representative sample of the adult Greek population.

The findings showed that in apparently healthy and normotensive Greek adults, a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet throughout the study was linked to long-term protection against the development of high blood pressure, regardless of several traditional risk factors. Those adhering closely to the Mediterranean diet at baseline exhibited a 4-times lower 20-year hypertension rate compared to those with the

lowest adherence.  The authors emphasize that their study provides further evidence of the value of a healthy diet in preventing hypertension and the importance of promoting a lifelong adherence to the principles of the Mediterranean diet, along with other healthy lifestyle practices.

ReferencesLong-term adherence to a Mediterranean diet can prevent high blood pressure


Georgoulis M, Damigou E, Derdelakou E, Kosti RI, Chrysohoou C, Barkas F, Kravvariti E, Tsioufis C, Pitsavos C, Liberopoulos E, Sfikakis PP, Panagiotakos DB. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and 20-year incidence of hypertension: the ATTICA prospective epidemiological study (20022022). Eur J Clin Nutr. 2024 Apr 11. s41430-024-01440-w.