The Mediterranean Diet, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, moderate wine consumption, et cetera, has been found to possess
cardiovascular benefits. Exactly how these heart-healthy benefits come to be is not exactly known, though there are many possible scenarios.
One such example is the functionality of the endothelium (the cells that line the blood vessels). It is known that poor endothelial function is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, though its relationship to the Mediterranean diet is not well known.
A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition aimed to examine the relationship between the Mediterranean Diet and endothelial function, as well as possible effects on low-grade inflammation, another problem that has been linked to poor cardiovascular health.
557 adults (aged 59.6 +/- 6.9years) with increased risk for cardiovascular disease were recruited for this study.
Diet information was collected via self-reported questionnaire.
The following indicators for endothelial health were measured for each participant and taken at the beginning of the study, and again after 7 years: von Willenbrand factor, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, soluble endothelial selectin, soluble thrombomodulin, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1.
The following indicators for low-grade inflammation were measured for each participant and taken at the beginning of the study, and again after 7 years: C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor α, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1.
Other information collected and/or measured included: sex, glucose metabolism, energy intake, BMI, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits.
Higher consumption of fish was associated with better endothelial function after 7 years.
Total consumption of vegetables, fruit, alcohol, dairy, or meat had no effect on endothelial function after 7 years.
There were no associations between the Mediterranean diet, or component there-in, and low-grade inflammation after 7 years.
Higher consumption of lean fish, raw vegetables, and fewer dairy products were associated with better endothelial function after 7 years.
Higher consumption of fresh fruit, poultry, fewer high-fat dairy products, and moderate consumption of wine was associated with less low-grade inflammation.
The results of this study indicate that adhering to the Mediterranean diet, specifically increased consumption of lean fish, raw vegetables, moderate consumption of wine and low consumption of dairy products are associated with better
endothelial function and lower low-grade inflammation in adults with a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
These results indicate that endothelial function and inflammation may be at least one of the explanations why those adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet have improved cardiovascular health than those consuming other diets.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that results in itchy and dry patches of skin on the sufferer. Affecting around 2 to 4% of
Western populations, psoriasis has many risk factors, including family history, diet, obesity, stress, and alcohol consumption patterns.
Various vitamins and other individual dietary components such as Vitamins A, E, C, D, and other fatty acids have been studied for their potential benefits for psoriasis risk, though the influence a particular diet as a whole (like the Mediterranean diet) is much less known.
A new study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine examined associations (if any) between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and severity of psoriasis in Italian adults.
62 patients admitted to the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy were recruited for this study. 42 men and 13 women made up the participant pool, with an average age of 50.2 years (+/-10.5yrs). A control group consisting of 62 age-, gender-, and BMI-matched healthy individuals were used as controls.
Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was determined using self-reported questionnaires.
Severity of psoriasis was determined by physician diagnosis, and given a standardized Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score (PASI). C-reactive protein (CRP) and body composition were also determined for each participant.