For around a decade now, scientists have been working on the concept of a ‘Polypill’ – a once-daily pill containing multiple drugs aimed at reducing the incidence of heart disease by lowering risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels, both of which contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Several pills have been produced and tested both in people with a history of CVD and in those considered to be at increased risk of future CVD events.
As an alternative to the polypill, one group of researchers has proposed the ‘polymeal’ – a diet containing key foods that have been shown in medical literature to lower the risk of CVD.
The diet – which includes wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic and almonds – was modeled using data from the Framingham offspring study, which followed a large cohort of people over several years to determine how their lifestyle and other factors, such as age and gender, relate to their risk of CVD.
Using these data, it was estimated that the polymeal would reduce cardiovascular disease events by 76%, leading to an increase in total life expectancy of 6.6 years for men and 4.8 years for women, assuming the diet was followed daily.
The authors concluded that the “Polymeal promises to be an effective, non-pharmacological, safe, cheap, and tasty alternative to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and increase life expectancy in the general population.”