Mediterranean diet versus vegetarian diet for cardiovascular disease prevention


A recent article published in Time compared the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean and vegetarian diets on cardiovascular health. The two diets were shown to display positive effects on cardiovascular health, yet by means of differing mechanisms of action.

Since many years, the Mediterranean diet has established itself as an excellent strategy for
cardiovascular health. This diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil,
whereas it is poor in red meat, industrialized products, and refined sugars. A new study published in
Circulation has now revealed that both diets were proven to be healthy for cardiovascular health, yet
due to different effects.

For this study, Italian experts recruited about 100 healthy adult volunteers, yet overweight and at
low to medium cardiovascular risk. Half of the patients first underwent a Mediterranen diet, while
the other half were subjected to a vegetarian diet, without meat and fish, but including eggs and
dairy products. At the end of the first 3 months, the diets were exchanged between the groups.

The two diets were demonstrated to beneficially impact cardiovascular health, yet via differents
means. The vegetarian diet was shown to induce a more marked reduction in LDL cholesterol, which
contributes to plaque formation in arterial vessels. The Mediterranen diet, in its turn, was revealed
to induce a significant decrease in triglycerides. Elevated triglyceride levels are considered to be a
significant cardiovascular risk factor.