Mediterranean Diet Linked to Lower Risk of Diabetes

Woman shopping for veggiesAdding to the growing body of medical literature that suggests a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains is beneficial to your health by reducing heart disease and cardiovascular disease, as well as contributing to healthy aging, a Spanish study reports this type of diet significantly reduced the risk of diabetes.

The researchers followed 3,541 people aged 55 to 80 who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease for four years. The study participants were randomly assigned to one of three diets – a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, and a low-fat control diet.

After the study period 273 of the participants had developed type 2 diabetes—80 and 92 from the EVOO and nut supplemented Mediterranean diet groups respectively, and 101 from the control diet group.

According to the results recently reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, after adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that participants following the olive oil supplemented Mediterranean diet were at 40 percent less risk of diabetes, and those following the nut supplemented Mediterranean diet were 18 percent less likely to develop the disease as compared with the control diet.

“We found that a long-term intervention with a high-quality dietary pattern akin to the traditional Mediterranean diet, and rich in EVOO could reduce the incidence of diabetes in older persons at high cardiovascular risk,” the researcher concluded.

This article from the journal summarizes the study for patients.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that increases the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness and other health problems.

If you are interested in adopting a Mediterranean diet, “A Practical Guide to a Mediterranean Diet” from our Keep in Touch with Jefferson e-mail newsletter is a great way to get started.

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