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Mediterranean Diet, Inflammation, and Coagulation 
July 7, 2004

BETHESDA, MD Adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in the concentrations of inflammation and coagulation markers.  

A study by Christina Chrysohoou, MD, PhD et al. from University of Athens, Athens, Greece which was published in the July 7, 2004 issue of the Journal of American College of Cardiology, used data from the ATTICA Study to evaluate the effect of the Mediterranean diet on plasma levels of C-reactive protein, white blood cell counts, interleuikin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, amyloid A, fibrinogen, and homocysteine. These levels are considered to be markers of inflammation and coagulation. 

In the ATTICA Study, during the 2001 to 2002 period, 1,514 men and 1,528 women from the Attica area of Greece were enrolled. These men and women covered the age span of 18-89, and did not include people with a history of cardiovascular disease. Participants were assessed on their adherence to the Mediterranean diet, including daily consumption of wine, whole-grains, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, non-fat/low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, potatoes, olives, nuts, and less often consumption of eggs, sweets, and red meat. 

The study found that participants with the closest adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet had, on average, 20% lower C-reactive protein levels, 14% lower white blood cell counts, 17% lower interleukin-6 levels, 6% lower fibrinogen levels, and 15% lower homocysteine levels compared to those adhered the least to the Mediterranean diet. 

From these values, the study concluded that adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in the concentrations of inflammation and coagulation markers. The authors believe that the low levels of these markers may possibly explain why this diet is beneficial to the cardiovascular system. 
 


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