An Australian study has found that a pro-inflammatory diet is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Cardiovascular disease continues to be a major concern, and is still the leading cause of death in men in most Western countries. A recent Australian study, reported in the British Journal of Nutrition, investigated the role of a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory diet on cardiovascular risk in men. Based on the knowledge that diet plays a major role in cardiovascular risk, researchers assessed specifically whether inflammation-inducing foods, common in a typical Western diet, had any effect on cardiovascular outcomes.
The researchers used a ‘dietary inflammatory index’ as a measure of dietary inflammation. The researchers found that over a 5-year period, the dietary inflammatory index was predictive of the occurrence of cardiovascular events. Men consuming a pro-inflammatory diet were two times as likely to have a cardiovascular event during the 5-year study period. The researchers state that this is the first study to assess and find predictive value of a dietary inflammation index for cardiovascular events, further highlighting the potential benefit of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Assessment of the dietary characteristics revealed that the anti-inflammatory diet was characterised by a greater amount of nutrients and phytochemicals, associated with a greater intake of fruits and vegetables. In addition, whole grains made up the majority of the carbohydrate intake in the anti-inflammatory diet.
O’Neil, A, Shivappa, N, Jacka, FN, Kotowicz, MA, Kibbey, K, Hebert, JR, Pasco, JA. “Pro-inflammatory dietary intake as a risk factor for CVD in men: a 5-year longitudinal study” British Journal of Nutrition, Published online: 09 October 2015
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD