The mediating effect of the Mediterranean diet on the role of discretionary and hidden salt intake regarding non-fatal acute coronary syndrome or stroke events: A case/case-control study
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present work was to evaluate the association between salt and salty food consumption on the development of an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or ischemic stroke, under the context of adherence to the Mediterranean diet. METHODS: During 2009-2010, 1000 participants were enrolled; 250 were consecutive patients with a first ACS, 250 were consecutive patients with a first ischemic stroke and 500 population-based, control subjects, one-for-one matched to the patients by age and sex. Socio-demographic, clinical, psychological, dietary and other lifestyle characteristics were measured. Consumption of foods with high salt concentration was evaluated with a special score (range 0-10). Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed by the validated MedDietScore (theoretical range: 0-55). RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounding factors, use of salt added in table was associated with 81% higher likelihood of stroke (95% Confidence Interval: 1.03-3.20), whereas no association was observed regarding the development of ACS. Salt use during cooking was not associated with the development of ACS or stroke. Each unit increase of the score evaluating total salty food consumption was associated with 33% higher likelihood of stroke development (95% Confidence Interval: 1.08-1.64), but not with ACS. The effect of salt and salty food consumption regarding stroke presence was more evident for participants with lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet. CONCLUSION: Simple dietary changes, with emphasis on reducing salt and salty food consumption, along with better adherence to the Mediterranean diet, should be incorporated in public health strategies for the primary prevention of stroke.