The research was a joint effort of the University of Navarra and the Navarre Health Service, and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It was led by Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, a medicine professor at the University of Navarra, and member of the Spanish Biomedical Research Center in Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERObn). The study consisted of 7,216 men and women aged 55 to 75, all of whom carried the risk of contracting cardiovascular disease. The participants were classified into five categories based on their consumption of fiber and fruit.
It was found that those in the greatest fruit and fiber consumption quintile showed lower mortality rates at 37 and 41 percent for males and females, respectively, as compared to those in the quintile of least fiber and fruit intake. Associations were also closer among cardiovascular deaths. Research coordinator from the Navarre Health Service Dr. Pilar Buil-Cosiales alongside Martinez-Gonzalez reported significant reductions in risk of mortality in those who had only started eating fiber-rich whole foods and fruits (given that these individuals did not consume enough prior to the study).
Martinez-Gonzalez's study is important and unique at the same time since it is the largest clinical trial in Spanish research, and it is the only research to consider the content of the total initial fiber without repeating measurements throughout the monitoring period. It is also one of the main researches worldwide in the nutrition and diet department. This study falls under the responsibility of the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet (PREDIMED), which aims to evaluate if extra virgin oil and nuts-supplemented Mediterranean diet prevents the occurrence of CVD in comparison to a low-fat diet. PREDIMED is a collaborative research joining 19 scientific teams from Andalusia, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Catalonia, Navarre, Basque Country, and Valencia.
The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan that incorporates healthy eating with olive oil or red wine. This diet is known to lower levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol that builds up in arteries. It can also be associated with a lower risk of cancer and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The Mediterranean diet focuses on eating plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. This diet also suggests replacing butter with healthy olive oil and canola oil, and using herbs and spices to give taste to food instead of salt. In this diet, there are a total of nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Many studies already show that poor lifestyle and nutritional choices are highly associated with impoverished health. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report claims that only 10 percent of Americans get their recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Martinez-Gonzalez's study only proves the association between nutrition and chronic diseases further, and also provides a solution with the understanding of these chronic diseases. With healthier food choices come healthier lives, and probably longevity.