Puerto Rican adults whose food intake mostly resembled the Mediterranean diet showed more improved cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors after two years than those whose food choices were similar to the DASH diet and several other food plans, according to a study led by a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher.
The study was published online March 8, 2017 and will appear in the April 1, 2017 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.
Lead author Dr. Josiemer Mattei, assistant professor of nutrition, and colleagues used a food and nutrient scoring system to analyze food questionnaires, adiposity (body fat) measurements, and other cardiovascular risk factors among middle-aged and older participants in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study led by Dr. Katherine Tucker at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Those who ate more foods common to the Mediterranean diet but within the traditional choices of the Puerto Rican diet, such as root crops, beans and legumes, and oatmeal, were found to have lower body mass index, less insulin-resistance, and lower inflammation.
“It is important to assess dietary components for each population to craft effective and meaningful nutritional messages,” Dr. Mattei said. “The results further encourage individuals to follow a healthy diet to clinically improve their cardiometabolic profile.”