Mediterranean Diet Linked to Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome
The Mediterranean Diethas some pretty good credentials whereas it has been shown to be useful for people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. As a matter of fact, when the Mediterranean Diet was supplemented with nuts or extra virgin olive oil the result was an increase in the reversal of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors which raise the possibility for heart disease and other other health problems including diabetes and stroke. Risk factors for metabolic syndrome are a large waistline, a high triglyceride level, a low HDL level, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood pressure. The risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke increases with the number of risk factors.
People who have metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes compared to people who do not have the syndrome. One risk factor alone increases the possibility for heart disease.
The increase of obesity in adults has made metabolic syndrome more common and it may replace smoking as the premier risk factor for heart disease.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is a southern European diet. It is something of a puzzle in contrast to low fat diets. The Mediterranean Diet has a high fat consumption but Mediterranean countries have much lower instances of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes than northern European countries and the United States.
The diet itself includes a number of plant foods, fresh fruit, beans, nuts, cereals, olive oil, cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, and small amounts of red meat weekly. Aside from the health benefits already mentioned, the diet has proved to be good for the brain and help protect bones.
A Comparative Study
In a study funded by the Spanish government, a low fat diet was compared to the Mediterranean diet. As was noted, the Mediterranean diet was supplemented with either extra nuts or virgin olive oil. When the two diets were compared, the Mediterranean diet proved no better than the low-fat diet for decreasing the possibility of developing metabolic syndrome but did increase the chance of reversing the syndrome.
Study subjects were 6,000 men and women at risk for heart disease. Almost two-thirds of the study group began the study with metabolic syndrome. At the end of an almost five-year follow-up, 28 percent of those who had metabolic syndrome at the onset of the study no longer had it. Those who ate the Mediterranean diet were more likely to have reversed the condition.
In addition, those who ate the Mediterranean diet had a decrease in belly fat which is a known contributor to heart disease. The study replicated prior research that showed eating a Mediterranean diet has an effect on belly fat.
The Mediterranean diet could be easily adapted in the United States, whereas the foods are easily accessible. However, Americans would have to be willing to spend additional time preparing and cooking meals from fresh foods.
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