The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits, especially in terms of reducing cardiovascular risk. The gender differences in adherence to the Mediterranean diet could therefore also influence the differences in cardiovascular risk between men and women.
A recent study involving experts from the Università Telematica Pegaso in Italy examined gender-specific adherence to the Mediterranean diet and its association with cardiovascular disease risk factors in people with obesity. The results are published in the “Journal of Translational Medicine”.
Lifestyle and nutrition analyzed
A total of 968 women and 680 men took part in the study, whose lifestyle and anthropometric parameters were evaluated. The team also analyzed adherence to a Mediterranean diet and existing levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
This is a substance produced by the liver that increases in response to inflammation in the body. With the help of the hs-CRP value, inflammation in the body can be quantified and the risks of cardiovascular diseases can be estimated.
Women followed a Mediterranean diet more often
The study showed that women were significantly more likely to adhere to a Mediterranean diet than men. Additionally, the team said women also had significantly lower hs-CRP levels.
In general, women consumed significantly more vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, seafood and nuts than men. The experts also found that women generally consumed less olive oil, red and processed meat, butter, cream, margarine, soda, wine and confectionery.
In summary, women are generally more likely to follow a Mediterranean diet than men. It is precisely this difference, the team says, that could help explain the gender-specific risk of cardiovascular disease, which is reflected in the lower hs-CRP levels in women compared to men.
Further research required
Randomized clinical trials are now needed to examine the effectiveness of a gender-specific nutritional approach in the treatment of obesity and associated cardiovascular diseases, the researchers add. (as)