-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Every junk-food meal you
eat damages your arteries, while Mediterranean-type meals do no
harm -- and may even have a beneficial effect, according to a new
Junk-food meals are composed mainly of harmful saturated fat,
while Mediterranean-style meals are rich in good fats such as mono-
and polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to the researchers from
the Montreal Heart Institute, which is affiliated with the
University of Montreal.
The study included 28 nonsmoking men who ate a
Mediterranean-style meal first and then a junk-food meal a week
later. The Mediterranean meal included salmon, almonds and
vegetables cooked in olive oil. The junk-food meal included a
sandwich made with sausage, egg and cheese, along with three hash
The researchers assessed how the meals affected the inner lining
(endothelium) of the blood vessels. Endothelial function, which
determines how well blood vessels dilate (or open), is closely
linked to the long-term risk of developing heart disease.
After eating the junk-food meal, the participants' arteries
dilated 24 percent less than they did when they hadn't eaten. After
the Mediterranean meal, the participants' arteries dilated normally
and maintained good blood flow, the investigators found.
The researchers also measured the participants' triglyceride
levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that can cause
narrowing of the arteries. The study authors found that people with
higher blood triglyceride levels seemed to benefit more from the
Mediterranean meal. Their arteries responded better to the meal
than the arteries of people with low triglyceride levels.
"We believe that a Mediterranean-type diet may be particularly beneficial for individuals with high triglyceride levels ... precisely because it could help keep arteries healthy," study leader Dr. Anil Nigam, director of research at the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Center at Montreal Heart Institute, said in a university news release.
The study was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the Canadian
Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto. The data and conclusions of
research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Heart Association has more about the
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