Mediterranean diet could help protect kidney health

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Scientists from the University of Córdoba and elsewhere found eating the Mediterranean diet for a long time may protect kidney health in heart disease and diabetes

Lifestyle and dietary habits influence kidney function, playing an important role in the prevention and development of chronic kidney disease.

The effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in preserving kidney function has been seen in primary prevention.

However, no scientific evidence is currently available to determine which dietary pattern is more effective in the management of chronic kidney disease in secondary cardiovascular disease prevention.

In the current study, researchers aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the long-term intake of two healthy dietary patterns (a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil compared to a low-fat diet rich in complex carbohydrates) in protecting kidney function in people with coronary heart disease.

The team tested more than 1000 heart disease patients, who were asked to follow a Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet.

Kidney function was tested before the study and after 5-years of dietary interventions.

Patients were classified according to their type 2 diabetes status to evaluate its influence on the progression of kidney function.

The researchers found that eating the Mediterranean diet was linked to a lower decline of kidney function compared to the low-fat diet in people with type 2 diabetes.

This effect was also observed when the overall population was considered.

No big differences were found in kidney function between the two diets in people without type 2 diabetes.

In addition, this effect of the Mediterranean diet was mainly found in people with mildly impaired kidney function.

Based on the findings, the team concludes that the long-term intake of a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil, when compared to a low-fat diet, may protect kidney function in heart disease patients with type 2 diabetes.

Patients with mildly impaired kidney health may benefit more from the consumption of the Mediterranean diet.

These findings reinforce the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in secondary heart disease prevention.

The research was published in Clinical Nutrition and conducted by Alicia Podadera-Herreros et al.

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