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Mediterranean Diet Shows Metabolic Syndrome Benefits

Following a Mediterranean diet may prevent or even reverse metabolic syndrome according to a new study published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

People with metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. The American Heart Association defines metabolic syndrome as having three or more of the following:

1. A waistline greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women

2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women

3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL

4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine

5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein

6. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been the subject of a number of studies in recent years. Researchers with Harokopia University in Athens pooled data from 35 of these studies in order to measure its effect on metabolic syndrome,.

The researchers found that people who switched to a Mediterranean diet trimmed their waistline by .16 inches on average. They also saw a reduction in blood pressure of 2.35 points on the top reading, and on their fasting blood sugar by 3.89 milligrams per deciliter of blood.

The Mediterranean diet is typical of people who live in the European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains and healthy oils.

This new study adds more evidence to back the many health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Previous research has shown that the diet may improve heart health, lower rates of obesity and even decrease the overall risk of mortality.

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