Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major public-health problem for south Asian people.
| At 2-year follow-up, subjects on an alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet had fewer cardiac events.|
However, this can not be explained by conventional risk factors such as high blood pressure or increased cholesterol concentrations.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has highlighted the health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid.
In this study, researchers from India and Israel performed a randomized trial among 1000 patients with a history of health outcomes associated with CAD (including angina, heart attack, and diabetes).
The research team allocated 50% to a diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid, while the remaining controls were given a conventional Asian diet.
The Mediterranean diet included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, walnuts, and almonds.
The main analysis took place two years after the start of the study.
The researchers found that the average daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid was doubled among patients given the enhanced diet.
Furthermore, this group had fewer cardiac events (39 compared with 76) after 2 years follow-up.
A halving of sudden cardiac death and in the proportion of non-fatal heart attacks was also reported among patients given the enhanced diet.
Prof. Elliot Berry concluded, “Our trial in a non-Western population has shown that, over 2 years, a diet enriched with fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and mustard or soy bean oil is associated with a...decline in CAD morbidity and mortality, without an increase in non-cardiac deaths, and in the presence of improved metabolic profiles”.
“The long-term benefits may be even more substantial."