Following a Mediterranean-style diet is significantly linked with better anthropometric profiles, fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and lower disease activity and damage accrual scores among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), new research shows.
“Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet seems to exert a beneficial effect on disease activity and cardiovascular risk in SLE patients,” the researchers wrote.
The finding stems from a cross-sectional study involving 280 participants with SLE. The investigators used a questionnaire about food consumption to assess participants’ adherence to the Mediterranean-style diet. The researchers also measured for C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, homocysteine levels, disease activity using the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K), and damage accrual via the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SDI).
In addition to finding fewer cardiovascular risk factors—such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension—with a style of eating more aligned with a Mediterranean diet, scores on the SLEDAI and SDI were lower. The study also found an inverse relationship between the Mediterranean diet and high-sensitivity CRP levels.
“Greater consumption of Mediterranean diet foods (olive oil, fruits, vegetables, fish, etc.) and abstaining from red meat and meat products, sugars, and pastries was associated with less SLE clinical activity and damage,” the authors wrote.
The researchers called for additional longitudinal studies to confirm the findings.
Pocovi-Gerardino G, Correa-Rodríguez M, Callejas-Rubio JL, et al. Beneficial effect of Mediterranean diet on disease activity and cardiovascular risk in systemic lupus erythematosus patients: a cross-sectional study. Rheumatology. 2021;60(1):160-169. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keaa210