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Health-beneficial effects of adhering to a healthy Nordic diet index have been suggested. However, it has not been examined to what extent the included dietary components are exclusively related to the Nordic countries or if they are part of other European diets as well, suggesting a broader preventive potential. The present study describes the intake of seven a priori defined healthy food items (apples/pears, berries, cabbages, dark bread, shellfish, fish and root vegetables) across ten countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and examines their consumption across Europe.
Cross-sectional study. A 24 h dietary recall was administered through a software program containing country-specific recipes. Sex-specific mean food intake was calculated for each centre/country, as well as percentage of overall food groups consumed as healthy Nordic food items. All analyses were weighted by day and season of data collection.
Multi-centre, European study.
Persons (n 36 970) aged 35–74 years, constituting a random sample of 519 978 EPIC participants.
The highest intakes of the included diet components were: cabbages and berries in Central Europe; apples/pears in Southern Europe; dark bread in Norway, Denmark and Greece; fish in Southern and Northern countries; shellfish in Spain; and root vegetables in Northern and Central Europe. Large inter-centre variation, however, existed in some countries.
Dark bread, root vegetables and fish are strongly related to a Nordic dietary tradition. Apples/pears, berries, cabbages, fish, shellfish and root vegetables are broadly consumed in Europe, and may thus be included in regional public health campaigns.
To investigate the association of antioxidant intakes from diet and supplements with elevated blood C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations.
A cross-sectional study. The main exposures were vitamins C and E, carotene, flavonoid and Se intakes from diet and supplements. Elevated blood CRP and Hcy concentrations were the outcome measures.
The US population and its subgroups.
We included 8335 US adults aged ≥19 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2002.
In this US population, the mean serum CRP concentration was 4·14 (95 % CI 3·91, 4·37) mg/l. Intakes of vitamins C and E and carotene were inversely associated with the probability of having serum CRP concentrations >3 mg/l in multivariate logistic regression models. Flavonoid and Se intakes were not associated with the odds of elevated serum CRP concentrations. The mean plasma Hcy concentration was 8·61 (95 % CI 8·48, 8·74) μmol/l. Intakes of vitamins C, E, carotenes and Se were inversely associated with the odds of plasma Hcy concentrations >13 μmol/l after adjusting for covariates. Flavonoid intake was not associated with the chance of elevated plasma Hcy concentrations.
These results suggest that high antioxidant intake is associated with lower blood concentrations of CRP and Hcy. These inverse associations may be among the potential mechanisms for the beneficial effect of antioxidant intake on CVD risk mediators in observational studies.
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