Jan. 3 -- Following a Mediterranean-style diet may help protect kidney function after a transplant, a new study suggests.
Kidney transplants can be a lifesaver, but within 10 years more than a third of recipients start to lose kidney function, researchers say.
To see if diet could make a difference, Dutch researchers looked at whether a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil and lower in dairy and meat could help maintain kidney function.
Dr. Antonio Gomes-Neto, a nephrologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, led the study.
For the study, more than 600 kidney transplant recipients completed a food questionnaire.
During an average follow-up of five years, more than 119 patients had a decline in kidney function. Seventy-six developed kidney failure.
Their adherence to the Mediterrean diet was measured on a nine-point scoring scale. For each two-point scoring increase, participants had a 29 percent lower risk of reduced kidney function and a 32 percent lower risk of kidney failure, the study found.
"Increasing scientific evidence has demonstrated health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet on cardiovascular and kidney health. 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 in a news release.
The report was published online Jan. 2 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Learn more about kidney transplants at the National Kidney Foundation.
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