The Mediterranean diet is popular in the diabetic community, as it’s been shown in numerous studies to help improve blood glucose control, reduce the need for medication, and reduce systematic inflammation in people with diabetes.
Now, a new study is showing the Mediterranean diet may not only help those with diabetes control their condition, but it could also help those with metabolic syndrome reverse their condition and also help reduce their chances of developing diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. In order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have at least three of the following:
- Excess fat in the stomach area
- A high triglyceride level—normal is less than 150 mg/dL
- A low HDL cholesterol level—less than 40 mg/dL
- High blood pressure—140 systolic or higher and/or 90 diastolic or higher
- High fasting blood sugar—more than 100 mg/dL
Metabolic syndrome is a serious problem—those diagnosed are two times more likely to develop heart disease and five times more likely to develop diabetes. Other factors involved in metabolic syndrome are obesity, lack of physical activity, insulin resistance, genetics, and old age.
How the Mediterranean diet may help
A study followed participants over approximately five years to research the long-term effects of the Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome.
Out of those who followed the Mediterranean diet compared to those who did not, 28.2 percent saw a reversal of metabolic syndrome. Participants in the study who ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil also showed a decrease in obesity and lowered their fasting blood glucose.
Eating a Mediterranean diet
What do you eat if you want to eat as the Mediterraneans do and possibly reverse your metabolic syndrome? Here six tips for getting the most from this diet:
- Use olive oil instead of butter and margarine. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Increase your veggie intake. Aim for three to eight servings of vegetables a day, and be sure to eat a variety to get a wide range of antioxidants and vitamins.
- Eat whole grains such as quinoa, barley, and oatmeal.
- Swap out red meats for skinless chicken or turkey, fish, beans, and nuts.
- Instead of reaching for a bag of processed chips for snacks, grab a handful of nuts or a low-fat yogurt.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit.
If you have metabolic syndrome or just want to improve your health, the Mediterranean diet is a good option. Metabolic syndrome is a serious issue, and making these few simple changes to your diet can make a marked difference in your overall health.