Systemic inflammation is known to be associated with several health problems and diseases, including various types of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers. It is also known that a poor diet is also linked to these same diseases and more, raising the question of
whether diet choice is associated with systemic inflammation, or if these markers for certain diseases are mutually exclusive.
A new research study from Lund University in Sweden focused on a group of 667 older adults between the ages of 63 and 68, to determine if diet quality was associated with the clinical signs of systemic inflammation.
At baseline, the participants answered questions related to socio-demographics. Additionally, height, weight, BMI, hip and waist circumferences, blood pressure, various blood sample measurements, and diet quality indices were collected and analyzed.
- Higher numbers of women reported sticking to a healthier/high quality diet (i.e. Mediterranean-like diet) than men.
- Participants reporting adherence to a high quality diet were more likely to have a healthy lifestyle.
- Blood levels of high-sensitive CRP, S100A8/A9, TNF-α, white blood cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and CD14+CD16++ (all indicators of systemic inflammation) were lower in participants adhering to a high quality diet than those eating a poorer quality diet.
- After controlling for all possible confounding factors (i.e. age,gender, lifestyle, height, weight, etc., etc.), blood levels of systemic inflammation markers were still lower in participants adhering to a higher quality diet than those eating a poorer quality diet.
The results of this study indicate that eating a healthy, high quality, Mediterranean-like diet decreases systemic inflammation markers in the blood of older adults, leading to an overall reduced risk of developing diseases associated with systemic inflammation, including heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers.
Dias, J.A., Wirfält, E., Drake, I., Gullberg, B., Hedblad, B., Persson, M., Engström, G., Nilsson, J., Schiopu, A., Fredirkson, G.N., and Björkbacka, H. 2015. A high quality diet is associated with reduced systemic inflammation in middle-aged individuals. Atherosclerosis 238: 38-44.