Mediterranean diet has a greater anti-inflammatory potential in youth populations

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Diet plays a crucial role in the regulation of chronic inflammation. Traditional Mediterranean diet with generous consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, increased consumption of fish and nuts, and higher use of olive oil in food preparation is associated with lower levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers. Evidence shows that several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer, are triggered in part by inflammation, and atherosclerosis progresses from childhood and adolescence to adulthood. Limited evidence has positively associated diet quality with the dietary anti-inflammatory potential in adult populations, but data for children and young people are missing. Therefore, Lluis Serra-Majem, one of our Conference speakers, and colleagues carried out a study to determine dietary inflammatory potential, and its association with diet quality indicators in a representative sample of Spanish youth. Data were obtained from a representative national sample of 2889 children and young people in Spain, aged 6–24 years. The dietary inflammatory potential was measured by the dietary inflammatory index (DII), and diet quality by three conceptually different measures: the Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for children and adolescents (KIDMED), energy density, and total dietary antioxidants capacity.

In this cross-sectional study in Spanish youth, higher diet quality was associated with increased dietary anti-inflammatory potential in three conceptually different measures validated in the study population. The strength of agreement between the selected indices was poor and correlations between measures were poor to fair; the one indicator that scored highly on all three was greater dietary anti-inflammatory potential.



The authors concluded that a healthy diet characterized by high adherence to the Mediterranean diet, high total dietary antioxidant capacity, or low energy density was linked to greater anti-inflammatory potential of the diet.

Rowaedh Ahmed Bawaked, Helmut Schröder, Lourdes Ribas-Barba, Maria Izquierdo-Pulido, Carmen Pérez-Rodrigo, Montserrat Fíto & Lluis Serra-Majem (2017) Association of diet quality with dietary inflammatory potential in youth, Food & Nutrition Research, 61:1, 1328961, DOI: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1328961
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