Background: The consumption of a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, its impact on blood pressure and endothelial function is not clear.Objective: We sought to determine the effects of adhering to the consumption of a MedDiet for 6 mo on blood pressure and endothelial function in older, healthy Australians.Design: A total of 166 men and women aged >64 y were allocated via minimization to consume either a MedDiet (n = 85) or their habitual diet (HabDiet; control: n = 81) for 6 mo. The MedDiet comprised mainly plant foods, abundant extra-virgin olive oil, and minimal red meat and processed foods. A total of 152 participants commenced the study, and 137 subjects completed the study. Home blood pressure was measured on 5 consecutive days at baseline (n = 149) and at 3 and 6 mo. Endothelial function (n = 82) was assessed by flow-meditated dilatation (FMD) at baseline and 6 mo. Dietary intake was monitored with the use of 3-d weighed food records. Data were analyzed with the use of linear mixed-effects models to determine adjusted between-group differences.Results: The MedDiet adherence score increased significantly in the MedDiet group but not in the HabDiet group (P < 0.001). The MedDiet, compared with the HabDiet, resulted in lower systolic blood pressure (P-diet × time interaction = 0.02) [mean: -1.3 mm Hg (95% CI: -2.2, -0.3 mm Hg; P = 0.008) at 3 mo and -1.1 mm Hg (95% CI: -2.0, -0.1 mm Hg; P = 0.03) at 6 mo]. At 6 mo, the percentage of FMD was higher by 1.3% (95% CI: 0.2%, 2.4%; P = 0.026) in the MedDiet group.Conclusion: Australian men and women who consumed a MedDiet for 6 mo had small but significantly lower systolic blood pressure and improved endothelial function. This trial was registered at www.anzctr.org.au as ACTRN12613000602729.
Keywords: Australia; Mediterranean diet; blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; flow-mediated dilatation.
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.