Experts examine Mediterranean diet's health effects for older adults

April 18, 2013

According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, a baseline adherence to a Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) is associated with a lower risk of hyperuricemia, defined as a serum uric acid (SUA) concentration higher than 7mg/dl in men and higher than 6mg/dl in women.

Hyperuricemia has been associated with metabolic syndrome, hypertension, , , gout, and and mortality. The MeDiet is characterized by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, nuts, and whole grain; a moderate consumption of wine, dairy products, and poultry, and a low consumption of red meat, sweet beverages, creams, and pastries. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the MeDiet might play a role in decreasing SUA concentrations.

Conducted by Marta Guasch-Ferré and 11 others, this study is the first to analyze the relationship between adherence to a MeDiet in older adults and the risk of hyperuricemia. The five-year study looks at 7,447 participants assigned to one of three intervention diets (two MeDiets enriched with or mixed nuts, or a control low-fat diet). Participants were men aged 55 to 80 years and women aged 60 to 80 years who were free of cardiovascular disease but who had either type 2 diabetes mellitus or were at risk of .

The findings below demonstrate the positive health effects of a MeDiet in older adults:

  • Rates of reversion were higher among hyperuricemic participants at baseline who had greater adherence to the MeDiet.
  • Consuming less than one serving a day of red meat compared with higher intake is associated with 23 percent reduced risk of hyperuricemia.
  • Consuming fish and seafood increased the prevalence of hyperuricemia.
  • Drinking more than seven glasses of wine per week increased the prevalence of hyperuricemia.
  • Consuming legumes and sofrito sauce reduced the prevalence of hyperuricemia.
  • Reversion of hyperuricemia was achieved by adherence to the MeDiet alone, without weight loss or changes to physical activity.

Explore further: Gout prevalence swells in US over last 2 decades

More information: The paper "Mediterranean Diet and Risk of Hyperuricemia in Elderly Participants at High Cardiovascular Risk" can be accessed at www.oxfordjournals.org/page/5147/2

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