Mediterranean diet declared to minimize the effects of Air pollution

Loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil, the Mediterranean diet is most probably, the world’s healthiest diet known. It also includes the consumption of fish, poultry and other lean sources of proteins. It further features the regular consumption of red wine but in highly moderate amount.

Mediterranean diet is attributed to a number of healthful benefits. The olive oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids. It outperforms those regular vegetable or coconut oil by enhancing the level of good cholesterol inside our body. Fish meat like that of salmon and mackerel etc. provides fatty acids which promote the healthy working of heart and brain.

The use of vegetables either in raw form or as a smoothie also benefits the body in numerous ways. Whole grains like quinoa, barley, and oatmeal can provide us with a healthy and a heart-friendly breakfast. Nuts and other dry fruits are a rich source of fiber and minerals imparting health to the body.

Mediterranean diet comes up with the best solution to smother your cravings for sweetened fruits. It employs the use of fruits as sweets which may provide a rich source of vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Recently, a research, presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2018 International Conference, has anticipated the Mediterranean diet to be an effective tool to counter the deleterious effects of Air pollution. It was declared to help and protect people from some of the long-term effects of air pollution and minimize the risk of deaths due to heart attack and stroke.

In the study, researchers evaluated data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Diet and Health Study. The study subjected 548,699 people to observation, for over 17 years. 126,835 participants died during the course of study.

According to what extent do people follow the Mediterranean diet plan, five groups were made. The diet included more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, fish, and poultry and a limited consumption of red meat and processed foods.

Using the census tract information, the exposure of the participants to fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone were estimated.

A comparison was made by then, in between the participants who adhere the least to a Mediterranean diet with those who adhere the most to the dietary pattern.

For every 10 parts per billion (ppb) increase in NOexposure, the death rate due to heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases increases by 5, 10, and 12%. This statistical analysis holds for the participants that followed the diet at least. On contrary, the participants who hold fast to the Mediterranean dietary plans showed only a 2-4% increase in the death rate.

For every 10 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) increase in particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure, the risks of cardiovascular diseases and heart attack increases by 17 and 20 percent. However, the ones sticking to the diet exhibited small chances of heart attacks and cardiac disorders.

However, adherence to a Mediterranean diet did not provide any protection against the side effects of O3 exposure.

George Thurston, from the New York University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study, commented that air pollution and that too caused by fossil fuel consumption induces an oxidative stress and inflammation inside the body. Mediterranean diet is high in antioxidants. Thus, it can provide a plausible solution to the side effects of air pollution. These antioxidants eradicate free radicals inside the body which upon accumulation damage the cells and tissue.

It is concluded that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables like that of a Mediterranean diet can minimize the negative impacts of Air Pollution naturally.


American Thoracic Society. “Mediterranean diet may blunt air pollution’s ill health effects.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2018.

The study under discussion can be extensively studied at the following link,


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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