Mediterranean diet prevents metabolic syndrome

March 8, 2011 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Mediterranean diet prevents metabolic syndrome

The Mediterranean diet is making headlines once again.  Researchers from Athens, Greece have reported that following a Mediterranean diet can prevent metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that double the risk of heart attack and increase diabetes risk fivefold.

To investigate, researchers reviewed 50 clinical trials.  They found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet were less much likely to have traits of metabolic syndrome, including excessive abdominal fat (increased waist circumference), high blood pressure, low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, elevated fat levels in the blood (triglycerides) and increased blood sugar.  

The report concluded that individuals following a Mediterranean-style diet were significantly less likely to develop metabolic syndrome. 

What's more, they had smaller waist circumferences, higher HDL cholesterol levels, lower blood triglycerides, lower blood pressure and better blood sugar metabolism than folks who didn't follow this eating pattern.

Scientists speculate the Mediterranean diet's health benefits are due to its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

The Mediterranean diet reflects the dietary habits of Crete, Greece and southern Italy around 1960, when rates of chronic diseases in these regions were among the lowest in the world and life expectancy was the highest.

It's a pattern of eating that's low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, high in fibre and packed with protective phytochemicals.  The Mediterranean diet is primarily plant-based with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts eaten daily. 

For more information about the Mediterranean diet click here.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.