- Staff writers
- Mediterranean diet rich in vegetable oil, nuts and fish may help fend off more than heart disease and diabetes: It appears to prevent gallstones, too.
- Men who ate more of the unsaturated fats found in such foods lowered their risk of gallstones by nearly one-fifth, according to a 14-year study published in Tuesday''s Annals of Internal Medicine.
- Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados and most nuts.
- Polyunsaturated fats, found mainly in vegetable oils such as safflower, corn and canola oil, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
- Saturated fats, found chiefly in animal sources, such as meat and poultry and dairy products, and some vegetable oils such as coconut and palm oil.
- Gallstones affect up to one in four Americans at some time in their lives.
- In some cases, the stones can cause abdominal pain and vomiting, and the gall bladder has to be removed.
- Other research has suggested that diets high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates increase the risk of gallstones, said Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a co-author and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
- "It''s probably not entirely an accident that some of the same mechanisms that relate to gallstones relate to having diabetes, or heart disease," he said.
- "The same diet that is good for some of the Western diseases is good for gallstones."
- Doctors in recent years have come to recognize the heart-healthy benefits of the so-called Mediterranean diet, which is rich in unsaturated fats from vegetable oils, nuts and fish such as salmon and tuna.
- Those in the highest one-fifth of the group in unsaturated fat consumption had an 18% lower risk of gallstones than those in the lowest one-fifth.