Diet, Inflammation (2016) & Atherosclerosis


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Researchers have reported that chronic inflammation in the body is a central cause of many health conditions, especially cardiovascular disease, which is one of the four leading causes of premature death.

The diet generally consumed by Westerners is high in red meat, high-fat dairy, refined sugars and grains and refined carbohydrates (as opposed to long-chain carbohydrates such as multi-grain cereal). The Mediterranean diet however, is high in whole grains, fish, vegetables (especially green vegetables) and fruit, along with low alcohol consumption and use of olive oil. This diet is associated with lower levels of inflammation in the body.

Researchers wanted to investigate the relationship between high inflammation levels in the body, indicated by the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) and premature mortality. Researchers investigated the diets and health of more than 8089 subjects to see whether such a relationship existed and to, in addition, see whether antioxidants would be helpful in reducing inflammation.

They conducted a random, placebo-controlled, double-blind study in which the subjects received low doses of antioxidants or a placebo over an eight year period. The subjects were aged 43 to 55 years old and their health was followed for an additional five years after the trial ended.

The subjects who had high inflammation levels had a higher death rate from heart disease or cancer compared to normal averages.

The subjects who received antioxidants did not have the same high death rate.

Researchers: L. Graffouillere, M. Deschausaux, et al.

Published: Prospective association between the Dietary Inflammatory Index and mortality: modulation by antioxidant supplementation in the SU.VI.MAX randomized controlled trial, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March, 2016.