A diet rich in alpha-linoleic acid reduced cardiac events in Asian people at risk.Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major public health problem in South Asian people, especially if they move to the West. The high prevalence of CAD is not fully explained by conventional risk factors, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Researchers in India and Israel have been experimenting with the effect of a Mediterranean type diet on cardiac risk in a population of 1,500 patients. All had a history of CAD. Half were given an 'Indo-Mediterranean' diet, rich in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, almonds and walnuts. This doubled their intake of alpha-linoleic acid compared to the rest of the group, who followed a conventional Asian diet.
After two years, there had been35 cardiac events in the Mediterranean diet group, compared to 70 in the control group. There was also a halving of sudden cardiac death and non-fatal heart attacks. The researchers hope that the long-term benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet might be even more impressive.