Dietary patterns and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation: A systematic review of observational and intervention studies

Redox Biol. 2021 Jun;42:101869. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2021.101869. Epub 2021 Jan 22.


Introduction: Oxidative stress and inflammation are known to play a critical role in ageing and chronic disease development and could therefore represent important targets for developing dietary strategies for disease prevention. We aimed to systematically review the results from observational studies and intervention trials published in the last 5 years on the associations between dietary patterns and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation.

Methods: A systematic search of the PubMed, MEDLINE and Web of Science (January 2015 to October 2020) was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Methodological quality of selected studies was evaluated based on the NUTRIGRADE and BIOCROSS assessment tools.

Results: In total, 29 studies among which 16 observational studies and 13 intervention studies were found eligible for review. Overall, results indicated an inverse association between plant-based diets - the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet - and oxidative stress and proinflammatory biomarkers. In observational studies, inverse associations were further revealed for the vegetarian diet, the USDA Healthy Eating Index (HEI) - based diet and the paleolithic diet, whereas a positive association was seen for western and fast food diets. Quality assessment suggested that majority of dietary intervention studies (n = 12) were of low to moderate quality.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that the plant-based dietary patterns are associated with lowered levels of oxidative stress and inflammation and may provide valid means for chronic disease prevention. Future large-scale intervention trials using validated biomarkers are warranted to confirm these findings.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Dietary patterns; Inflammation; Oxidative stress; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Diet
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Biomarkers