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Pasta, vegetables, olive oil ... Phase angle

Early 2017, an Italian study looked at a possible interdependency between a Mediterranean diet and the height of the phase angle. The Mediterranean diet has long been regarded as one of the healthiest nutritional diets. It is characterized by the use of fresh products rich in vitamins, nutrients and unsaturated fatty acids. Large amounts of fat, meat and sugar, on the other hand, are not part of this diet. Because of this, the Mediterranean diet appears to have an overall positive effect on life expectancy, by also preventing the development of many diseases of affluence, such as type II diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.

The phase angle is a parameter, measured by the bioimpedance analysis (BIA) and acts as a represents the integrity of cell membranes.  As it provides information on the body's health status, it can be used as a prognostic marker for a variety of diseases. Generally, a high phase angle is associated with a large quantity of intact cells in a good nutritional state, while low values ​​correlate with the cell degradation and membrane damage. In a healthy person, the height of the angle is mainly influenced by age, gender and body mass.

Within the study, more than 1000 subjects were questioned on their dietary habits and their adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed using an assessment tool. Their body size, weight, and phase angle were also measured. The results showed a significant positive correlation between the degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the height of the phase angle. The diet had a positive effect for both sexes and was independent of age or body mass index (BMI).

Those subjects, who strictly followed the diet, showed the highest phase angle in all age and weight groups of the study. On the other hand, lower figures ​​were found in elderly subjects, who had a high BMI and consumed only a small amount of Mediterranean food. There was also a negative correlation between the Mediterranean diet and the BMI. Those who followed their diet consistently had a lower body weight and lower BMI values overall. Like other previous studies, this pilot study demonstrated the positive health effects of the Mediterranean diet. It also showed that the phase angle can be significantly influenced not only by already known factors but also by diet. In the future, these results could be used to identify those with a low phase angle and a high risk profile so they can be treated by adjusting their diet.

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Image 2  © “nuzza11” / Fotolia.com