Mediterranean diet may protect women smokers from rheumatoid arthritis: Study
Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, cereals, fruit and vegetables, fish, and a moderate amount of dairy, meat, and wine has been associated with variety of health benefits.
Now results from an analysis published in Arthritis & Rheumatology suggest that the diet may also help prevent rheumatoid arthritis in individuals who smoke or used to smoke.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease characterised by severely swollen and painful joints. To compliment pharmacotherapy, people living with rheumatoid arthritis often turn to dietary interventions such as the Mediterranean diet.
The researchers conducted a study to to assess the relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, especially in high‐risk individuals.
The analysis included 62,629 women from France who have been taking part in a questionnaire-based study assessing dietary intake since 1990. In total, 480 women developed rheumatoid arthritis.
Adherence to the MD was assessed using a 9‐unit dietary score evaluating consumptions of vegetables, legumes, cereal products, fish, meat, dairy products, olive oil, and alcohol. HRs and 95% CIs for incident RA were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for age and for the main potential confounders including smoking.
It was found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was not associated with rheumatoid arthritis risk overall; however, among women who smoked or used to smoke, it was associated with a decreased risk: 383 cases of rheumatoid arthritis per 1 million people per year among those with high adherence to the Mediterranean diet, compared with 515 cases per 1 million people per year among those with low adherence to the diet. (Among women who never smoked and had high adherence to the diet, there were 358 cases per 1 million people per year.)
The researchers concluded that adherence to the Mediterranean diet could reduce the high risk of rheumatoid arthritis among ever‐smoking women. Our results must be confirmed in future research.