A Mediterranean-style diet promotes heart function — even in men who are normally genetically predisposed to poor heart health. This means that the autonomic system controlling your heart rate works better if you eat a Mediterranean or similar diet, no matter what your genes.
In a study, researchers showed that a Mediterranean-style diet is related to higher heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of the time interval between a person’s heart beats. Low heart rate variability is a risk factor for coronary artery disease.
“In order to conduct their analysis, the researchers administered food frequency questionnaires to 276 middle-aged male twins. Diet can influence heart rate variability, but this association can be confounded by environmental and genetic factors. Using twins enabled researchers to examine the influence of diet on heart rate variability while controlling for genetic and other familial influences.”
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