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Mediterranean diet can help elderly health

9th March 2006

Researchers in the US claim that a Mediterranean diet can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in the elderly, according to the Reuters news agency.

Scientists at the Stanford School of Medicine in California believe a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits and low in saturated fats can reduce inflammation in the elderly by lowering levels of the C-reactive protein (CRP).

High levels of CRP are thought to increase the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

"The effects of the Mediterranean diet might be the anti-oxidant components of fruits and vegetables," Dr Joan M Fair told Reuters.

"The anti-inflammatory effects of the diet may be one explanation for its protective effect against cardiovascular disease," she added.

Dr Fair stressed the need for further tests on other markers of inflammation such as high coronary artery content in a bid to improve understanding on the link between inflammation and heart problems.

There are around 270,000 heart attacks each year in the UK.