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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Diabetes, Inflammation

 The following article by Mark L. Fuerst is reprinted from Psychiatric Times, March 31, 2014.

Two new studies show the heart-healthy benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet.

One study linked the diet to a lower risk of diabetes mellitus (DM), especially among those at high risk for cardiovascular disease…

In the first pooled analysis of studies evaluating the possible role of the Mediterranean diet in DM development, adherence to this diet was associated with a 21% reduced risk of DM compared with the control dietary groups. The likelihood of developing DM was almost 27% less in those at high risk for cardiovascular disease than in controls.

“Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race, or culture,” said lead investigator Demosthenes Panagiotakos, PhD, professor at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece. “This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet…”

The Mediterranean diet frequently emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fi sh, olive oil, and even a glass of red wine.

Dr. Panagiotakos said he believes the Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of DM by helping guard against obesity. Earlier research has shown that following the traditional Mediterranean diet also is linked to weight loss, a reduced risk of heart disease and related death, and lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels…

[In a second study], Italian researchers conducted an analysis of the eating habits of nearly 15,000 healthy Italian men and women aged 35 years or older…

The investigators observed that consumption of the Mediterranean diet was directly related to lower levels of platelets and white blood cells, which, in turn, correlated to lower levels of inflammation [which has been associated with a greater risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke].

For more detailed information on these studies, please see the following: Mediterranean diet and diabetes mellitus: