Women who adhere strictly to a Mediterranean diet may reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and death by nearly 25%, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia conducted the study to look at the connection between diet and cardiovascular disease, which accounts for more than a third of all deaths in women worldwide. The study was published online in the journal Heart.

Researchers included a systematic analysis of previous research and clinical trials that looked at the impact of eating a Mediterranean diet on women’s health. Most of the studies were carried out in the U.S. and Europe, and involved more than 700,000 women whose cardiovascular health was monitored for an average of 12.5 years, according to a news release.

The study found that strict adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 24% lower risk of cardiovascular disease among women, and a 23% lower risk of mortality from any cause.

“This study supports a beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet on primary prevention of CVD and death in women, and is an important step in enabling sex specific guidelines,” the authors wrote.

The Mediterranean diet is a key recommendation of healthcare professionals for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and death. It consists of a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and extra virgin olive oil; moderate in fish/shellfish; low to moderate in wine; and low in red/processed meats, dairy products, animal fat and processed foods.