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The effect of the Mediterranean diet on health outcomes in post-stroke adults: a systematic literature review of intervention trials

Subjects

Abstract

Background

Stroke represents a major source of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Guidelines for stroke management and secondary prevention focus on reducing stroke-related risk factors such as smoking cessation, exercise and diet. Several clinical practice guidelines specifically recommend a Mediterranean diet (MD) for individuals with stroke. However, these recommendations rely primarily on observational research. The aim of this review is to critically appraise the current experimental evidence assessing the use of a Mediterranean diet on health outcomes in post-stroke adults.

Methods

A systematic literature review was conducted of original research which assessed the role of a Mediterranean diet on health outcomes in post-stroke adults. The following databases were searched: PROQUEST, SCOPUS (Elsevier), MEDLINE (EBSCO), EMBase and Cochrane Library up to the 25th of August 2021.

Results

A total of 6 studies from a total of 5838 identified studies met the full inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Several different health outcomes were assessed, including blood pathology tests, physical examinations, secondary vascular events and mortality. The Mediterranean diet appears to be beneficial for systolic and diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, BMI and waist circumference.

Conclusion

This review suggests a Mediterranean diet may be helpful for several health outcomes in post-stroke adults. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. To ensure robust methodology and replication of results, specific details of the included and excluded foods, quantities and serving sizes should be reported in future research.

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Fig. 1: PRISMA flow chart.

Data availability

The data analysed in this review can be obtained from the corresponding author by reasonable request.

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Contributions

All authors contributed to the design of the research question, development of the search terms, and contributed to the review protocol. JB conducted the literature search, analysed the data, and drafted the manuscript. JB and DS conducted the critical appraisal of all included articles. All authors contributed to the manuscript and approved the final version.

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Correspondence to Jessica Bayes.

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Bayes, J., Peng, W., Adams, J. et al. The effect of the Mediterranean diet on health outcomes in post-stroke adults: a systematic literature review of intervention trials. Eur J Clin Nutr (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-022-01212-4

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