London: Adopting a Mediterranean diet could help preserve kidney functions in patients who have had transplants, suggests a new study.
According to the study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, kidney transplant recipients, those with higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet were less likely to experience kidney function loss.
A typical Mediterranean diet includes extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrain breads, pastas and cereals, moderate amount of fish and red wine, and low consumption of red meat, sweet and processed foods.
"Increasing scientific evidence has demonstrated health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet on cardiovascular and kidney health." said the study's researcher Antonio Gomes-Neto from University of Groningen, Netherlands.
"In this study, we show that kidney transplant recipients with higher adherence to the Mediterranean Diet are less likely to experience function loss of their kidney transplant," Gomes-Neto said.
According to the researchers, despite improvements in the survival of transplanted kidneys in the early years after transplantation, loss of kidney function within 10 years still occurs in more than one-third of recipients.
For the findings, the research team investigated whether adhering to the Mediterranean diet might help protect transplant recipients' kidney health.
For the study, 632 adult kidney transplant recipients with a functioning donor kidney for at least one year completed a food-related questionnaire, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed using a 9-point score.
During an average follow-up of 5.2 years, 119 recipients experienced kidney function decline (76 of whom developed kidney failure), the research said.
The Mediterranean Diet score was inversely associated with kidney function decline and kidney failure.
According to the findings, each 2-point higher score was associated with a 29 per cent lower risk of kidney function decline and a 32 per cent lower risk of kidney failure.