WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A higher Mediterranean diet score may reduce the risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD), while greater adherence to a Southern dietary pattern may increase the risk for SCD, but these associations were not statistically significant, according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

James M. Shikany, Dr.P.H., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues assessed diet with a food frequency questionnaire administered at baseline among participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study cohort. Using factor analysis, dietary patterns were derived and adherence to each pattern was scored. The risk of SCD events associated with the Mediterranean diet score and adherence to each of five dietary patterns was assessed.

Data were included for 21,069 participants followed for a mean of 9.8 ± 3.8 years. The researchers found that after multivariable adjustment, there was an inverse association for the Mediterranean diet score with risk of SCD (hazard ratio comparing groups with highest versus lowest scores, 0.74; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.55 to 1.01; P for trend = 0.07). A trend toward a positive association of the Southern dietary pattern with SCD was observed (hazard ratio comparing highest with lowest quartile of adherence, 1.46; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.02 to 2.10; P for trend = 0.06).

“Improving one’s diet — by eating a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish such as the Mediterranean diet and low in fried foods, organ meats and processed meats, characteristics of the Southern-style dietary pattern, may decrease one’s risk for sudden cardiac death,” Shikany said in a statement.

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