Mediterranean diet may be ‘healthy food model’ to prevent th
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A cohort of euthyroid individuals with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis were more likely to eat meat and less likely to adhere to a Mediterranean diet than healthy controls, according to findings published in Thyroid.

There is a growing awareness that nutritional habits may influence risk of several inflammatory and immune-mediated disorders, including autoimmune diseases, through various mechanisms. The aim of the present study was to investigate dietary habits and their relationship with redox homeostasis in the setting of thyroid autoimmunity.

Two hundred subjects (173 females and 27 males; median age, 37 years) were enrolled. In each subject, serum thyrotropin (TSH), free thyroxine, antithyroid antibodies, and circulating oxidative stress markers were measured. A questionnaire on dietary habits, evaluating the intake frequencies of food groups and adherence to the Mediterranean diet, was submitted to each participant.

-- Among the 200 recruited subjects, 81 (71 females and 10 males) were diagnosed with euthyroid Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT); the remaining 119 (102 females and 17 males) served as controls.

-- In questionnaires, HT subjects reported higher intake frequencies of animal foods (meat; fish; dairy products) compared with controls, who reported higher intake frequencies of plant foods (legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts).

-- The number of subjects who preferentially consumed poultry instead of red/processed meat was lower in HT subjects than in controls.

-- In logistic regression analysis, meat consumption was associated with increased odds ratio of developing thyroid autoimmunity, while the Mediterranean diet traits were protective.

-- In HT subjects, serum advanced glycation end products (markers of oxidative stress) were significantly higher than in controls, while the activity of glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase, as well as total plasma antioxidant activity, were lower, indicating a condition of oxidative stress.

-- Stepwise regression models demonstrated a significant dependence of oxidative stress parameters on consumption of animal foods, mainly meat.

Conclusively, the present study suggests a protective effect of low intake of animal foods toward thyroid autoimmunity and a positive influence of such nutritional patterns on redox balance and potentially on oxidative stress-related disorders.