(PAMPLONA, Spain) -- There's a lot you can say these days about the mediterranean diet. It's healthy, it's tasty, but now research points to yet another benefit that could give you one more reason to give this diet a try. The diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and healthy oils, could lower the risk of peripheral artery disease, or PAD, according to researchers at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
It's a condition affecting about 8 million Americans -- one in 20 people over the age of 50. Those with PAD have a buildup of plaque in the arteries leading to the legs, arms and organs. These blood vessels narrow, limiting oxygen to where it is needed in the body.
Exactly how might the mediterranean diet help? The researchers assigned more than 7,000 men and women to either go on this regimen or receive counseling on a low-fat diet instead. After about five years, those eating a mediterranean diet cut their PAD risk to only half to one-third of the risk of those who were not on the diet.
These findings are published in Journal of the American Medical Association.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio