Anti-Inflammatory Diet Lowers All-Cause Mortality Risk

Diets high in foods such as vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats found to lower the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

A recent study shows that following a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods and low in foods that promote inflammation lowers the risk of all-cause mortality, as well as death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, examined 68,273 Swedish men and women between the ages of 45 and 83 years, who were followed for 16 years. The researchers sought to determine the link between an anti‐inflammatory diet and all‐cause and cause‐specific mortality. They also evaluated differences in overall survival time and assessed how smoking status affects survival.

The researchers noted that anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, low-fat cheese, olive oil, canola oil, nuts, dark chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. Pro-inflammatory foods include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips, and sugary beverages, according to the study.

Over the 16-year follow‐up period, which encapsulated approximately 1.1 million person‐years, there were 16,088 deaths recorded, 5980 of which were from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 5252 were from cancer. Individuals in the highest versus lowest quartile of the anti-inflammatory diet index (AIDI) had lower risks of mortality from all‐causes (18% reduction, 95% CI: 14—22%), CVD (20% reduction, 95% CI: 14–26%), and cancer (13% reduction, 95% CI: 5–20%).

The strongest inverse association between the highest and lowest quartiles of AIDI and mortality risk was found in current smokers, who had reduced mortality risks of 31% from all‐causes, 36% from CVD, and 22% from cancer.

The difference in survival time between current smokers in the lowest AIDI quartile and those who never smoked in the highest quartile was 4.6 years.

"Our dose-response analysis showed that even partial adherence to the anti-inflammatory diet may provide a health benefit," lead author Dr Joanna Kaluza, associate professor at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, said in a press release.

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