Mediterranean Diet May Lower Inflammation
A small but significant pilot study suggests that following the Mediterranean diet may reduce inflammation and alter gene expression of inflammation in as little as six weeks. Inflammation in the body can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type-2 diabetes.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating habits of people in the Mediterranean region of the world. It includes lots of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Additionally, this diet has a very limited amount of refined grains, saturated fats, and sugars.
The study included 30 healthy adults who followed poor diets and were split into “high” and “low” intervention groups. The researchers encouraged all of the participants to lower their refined and processed foods intake, as well as follow the Mediterranean diet. They also encouraged them to use gluten-free foods, not commonly part of the Mediterranean diet.
In order to ensure the participants followed the recommended diet, the researchers gave them foods such as fish, vegetables, unrefined cereals, olive oil and avocado. The participants were also given recipes for healthy eating.
Participants provided blood and urine samples at the beginning and end of the study, and completed questionnaires regarding diet and lifestyle. The blood tests taken at the end of the study showed a reduction in the bio-markers for inflammation. The researchers also noted a change in gene expression in the high intervention group.
The study was conducted by researchers at Auckland University in New Zealand. The findings will be officially reported in March, 2013.
Previous research has shown that the Mediterranean diet may improve heart health, lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, asthma, lower rates of obesity and even decrease the overall risk of mortality.