These findings came from a joint study involving researchers from University of rovira i Virgili and the Hospital Universities de Sant Joan de Reus in Spain.
Participants who were at a higher cardiovascular risk were selected randomly and given Mediterranean diet and extra-virgin olive oil supplement. It was observed that the olive oil was linked with smaller increase in metabolic syndrome unlike in participants who were on a low-fat diet, according to the researchers.
Since there was no major changes in weight loss between the two groups, researchers suggested it could have been caused by the difference in dietary patterns.
Good for Your Heart
About a quarter of the global population experiences metabolic syndrome. This condition has been linked to illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and premature death. To be diagnosed, a person has to exhibit more than three symptoms. High blood sugar, low HDL (good cholesterol), high blood pressure and central obesity (abdominal fat) are the symptoms associated with metabolic disorder.
Since previous studies have shown that Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, researchers wondered how it could also help deal with metabolic disorder, improve health and longevity. A 2013 study found out that people on Mediterranean diet were 30% were less likely to suffer cardiovascular disease compared to those who ate low-fat diet. This was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Mediterranean diet comprise of plenty of olive oil, nuts, whole grains, seeds, beans, yoghurt or cheese, fish, poultry, wine in moderation and small portion of meat. Meat from all animals should be taken in small quantities.
This study involved randomly selected 5,801 adults aged between 55 and 80 who were considered at a higher risk for developing heart disease. They were advised to choose from three diets which included low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet plus olive oil, and Mediterranean diet plus extra nuts. The low-fat diet was for the control group.
On average, the researchers made 4.8 years follow up on the participants. At the end of the study they didn’t find any difference in the number of participants who developed metabolic syndrome. This suggests that regardless of being higher in fat, Mediterranean diet didn’t make metabolic function any worse.
The most interesting findings occurred in patients who already had metabolic syndrome from the start of the research. It was observed that in participants who were on any Mediterranean diet, chances of metabolic syndrome dropped by 28.2% on average. Those who got extra olive oil saw a decrease in central obesity and blood sugar, whereas those on nuts saw a decrease in obesity only.
The researchers wrote that Mediterranean diets were linked to significant rate of reversion of metabolic syndrome. The research is now suggesting that Mediterranean diet come with a host of benefits which might go beyond metabolic health.
In reference to a study conducted in 2010 by researchers fro University of Navarra, Spain, it was found out that Mediterranean diet lowered the risk of depression by 30%. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Additionally, the study indicated that Mediterranean diet lowered risks for anxiety, lifestyle habits, family status and personality problems.
With more studies being underway, there is no doubt that more inventions in this wonderful diet will continue to emerge in the future. This study happens to be a breakthrough although researchers are yet to find out the exact ingredients that make this diet unique from the rest.