Italian researchers have found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower levels of inflammation markers that are linked with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

It is believed inflammation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Platelet (PLT) and white blood cell (WBC) counts are two markers of inflammation and have been linked to the risk for cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean diet has also been associated with less inflammation and reduced risk of several chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

In this study that was published in the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, the investigators set out to evaluate the effect of the Mediterranean diet on platelet and white blood cell counts. Their research included 14,586 individuals from the Moli-sani study, a large epidemiological population study in the Molise region in Italy that is focusing on the mechanism of inflammation.

The results showed that individuals who had a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet had lower levels of PLT and WBC counts compared to those with lower adherence rates. It is noted that dietary antioxidants such as those found in olive oil, wine and vegetables and also dietary fiber partially accounted for this association.

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