The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between adherence to a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in Italian heavy smokers undergoing an LDCT screening program (bioMILD trial), using scores calculated by simple questionnaires. Simple formats of food frequency questionnaires were administered to a sample of 2438 volunteers, and the adherence to a healthy diet was measured by the validated 14-point MEDAS and by two adaptations proposed by us: 17-item revised-MEDAS and 18-item revised-MEDAS. The OR of CRP >= 2 mg/L for 1-point increase in 14-point MEDAS score was 0.95 (95% CI 0.91-0.99), for 17-point score was 0.94 (95% CI 0.91-0.98), and for 18-point score was 0.92 (95% CI 0.88-0.97). These inverse associations remained statistically significant also after further adjustment for body mass index. These results showed the efficacy of simplified scores and their relationship with lower levels of CRP in a population of heavy smokers. This suggests that a targeted nutritional intervention might achieve a substantial reduction in CRP levels. The findings will be prospectively tested in a new randomized study on primary prevention during lung cancer screening.
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