Long-term Data Highlights Lower Hypertension Risk Linked to Mediterranean Diet

by Ella

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is influenced by various factors, including dietary choices. The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins to mitigate this risk.

Researchers in Greece embarked on a study spanning two decades to investigate the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet, renowned for its alignment with heart-healthy guidelines.


Analyzing data collected over 20 years, the study revealed a notable correlation between consistent adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of developing hypertension. Published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this study represents the first comprehensive investigation into the long-term effects of the Mediterranean diet on hypertension.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypertension affects nearly half of all adults in the United States and can lead to severe health complications if left untreated, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.


Lifestyle modifications, including dietary adjustments and increased physical activity, are recommended for managing hypertension. Additionally, healthcare professionals may prescribe medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers.


The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, healthy oils, and moderate amounts of fish and seafood. Despite the diet’s potential benefits for hypertension, prior to this study, long-term research on its efficacy in this regard was lacking.

Conducted by researchers from the School of Health Sciences and Education at Harokopio University of Athens, Greece, the study commenced in 2002 and concluded in 2022. A cohort of 4,056 individuals from Greece was invited to participate, with 3,042 ultimately enrolling.

At the study’s outset, participants underwent comprehensive assessments, including evaluations of cardiovascular health, glucose and cholesterol levels, body weight, blood pressure, and dietary and lifestyle habits. A MedDietScore was assigned to each participant based on their adherence to key components of the Mediterranean diet, such as consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and olive oil.

Over the ensuing two decades, researchers monitored participants’ MedDietScores, vital signs, and the incidence of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This extensive longitudinal study sheds light on the enduring benefits of the Mediterranean diet in reducing hypertension risk and underscores the importance of dietary interventions in promoting heart health.



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