The Mediterranean diet consists of foods like salads,
nuts, whole grains, olive oil, dairy products with some amounts of fish,
poultry and red wine. It is low in red meats and has been considered as among
the most heart-healthy diets. It is rich in nutrients like antioxidants,
vitamins, minerals and fiber, and prevents heart disease, cancer, metabolic
syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease
Some studies have indicated that Mediterranean diet
can reduce inflammation. Since atherosclerosis
or thickening of the vessel walls occurs in the presence of inflammation, foods that fight inflammation could reduce
the chances of developing atherosclerosis and thereby prevent a heart attack
Thus, the diet could serve as a natural remedy against heart disease and very
few people are likely to object to it. After all, who would say no to a tasty
meal which can double up as medication!
Researchers suggested that the Mediterranean diet
could have different responses in
males and females when it comes to reducing inflammation. Therefore, they
conducted an experiment where 38 men and 32 premenopausal women with slightly
higher cholesterol levels and with one out of 4 cardiovascular risk factors
were administered a planned Mediterranean diet for 4 weeks. Levels of highly
sensitive C reactive protein (hsCRP), a marker of inflammation, were measured
before and after the 4-week period.
The researchers found that there was no significant
decrease in inflammation either in men or women following the introduction of
the specific diet. However, men with
higher values of hsCRP at baseline saw a reduction in the level, while those
with a lower value experienced an increase
The researchers thus concluded that there is
variability in inflammatory response especially among men to the Mediterranean
diet depending on their baseline inflammatory status. However, this was a small
and short study, and may not have been able to adequately assess the benefits
of the Mediterranean diet in inflammation.
Further studies, perhaps based on this study design
but larger and longer, would be helpful in establishing the differential effect
of a Mediterranean diet in males and females.
Bedard A, Lamarche B, Corneau L, Dodin S, Lemieux S.
Sex differences in the impact of the Mediterranean diet on systemic
inflammation. Nutrition Journal 2015, 14:46 doi:10.1186/s12937-015-0035-y