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Mediterranean Diets Boost Kidney Health

Update Date: Oct 30, 2014 05:20 PM EDT

Eating like an Italian or Spaniard protects your kidneys, according to a new study.

Researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet could significantly reduce a person's risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

The latest findings are important because an increasing number of people are developing chronic kidney disease- despite significant medical advancements in treating kidney-destroying conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

Lead researcher Dr. Minesh Khatri, of Columbia University Medical Center and his colleagues wanted to see if diet could protect kidney health.

"Many studies have found a favorable association between the Mediterranean diet and a variety of health outcomes, including those related to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and cancer, among others," Khatri said in a news release. "There is increasing evidence that poor diet is associated with kidney disease, but it is unknown whether the benefits of a Mediterranean diet could extend to kidney health as well."

The latest study involved data from 900 participants who were followed for nearly seven years. Participants with higher scores showed better adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which consists of more of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and heart-healthy fats, and less red meats, processed foods and dairy.

The findings revealed that every one-point higher in a Mediterranean diet score decreased the risk of developing chronic kidney disease by 17 percent. Participants who followed dietary patterns that closely resembled the Mediterranean diet were 50 percent less likely to develop chronic kidney disease and 42 percent less likely to experience rapid kidney function decline.

 The findings will be published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

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