Turn Metabolic Syndrome Around

April 11, 2017 in Diabetes Management, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

How often do you think science finds a relationship with food or a style of eating being associated with a reversal of unhealthy markers that already exist? I’d say rarely – or nearly never. But that is exactly what was found in the PREDIMED study. This relatively rare instance was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ November 18, 2014). The two groups that both showed improvement and reversal of marker of disease were: (1) a group that ate a Mediterranean diet plus olive oil; and a second group (2) that ate a Mediterranean diet plus nuts. Metabolic syndrome is a dangerous cluster of three or more conditions [central (abdominal) obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and/or high blood sugar) that greatly increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The researchers found a reversal of the some of the metabolic syndrome conditions in nearly one-third of patients eating either version of the Mediterranean diet. I’d say that eating this way is very cost-effective medicine.

If you’d like to decrease your risk factors for diabetes and heart disease you may be interested in the following guidelines for the Mediterranean diet. They are based upon a scientific consensus of experts who draw their conclusions from an accumulation of good research:

  • a foundation of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grain foods, pulses (beans/legumes) nuts, and seeds);
  • foods that are minimally processed, seasonal, and locally grown, if possible;
  • olive oil as the primary fat, replacing butter, margarine, and other fats and oils;
  • a wide acceptable range of total fat, but a low proportion of saturated fat (less than 8% of energy);
  • low to moderate amounts of traditionally produced cheese and yogurt daily;
  • low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry each week (favoring fish over poultry) and up to four eggs per week (including those used in baking);
  • desserts with sugar and saturated fat only up to few times per week, with the typical daily dessert being fresh fruit;
  • less than one pound of red meat per month (favoring small portions and lean cuts);
  • regular daily movement and activity; and
  • for those that choose to drink alcohol, moderate consumption of wine with meals (about one to two classes per day for men and one glass per day for women).

“As these guidelines suggest, the Mediterranean diet is a mostly plant-based diet rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals in which food such as fish, cheese, and yogurt play supporting roles, adding flavor and energy without pushing vegetables off the plate.”

It’s not often that we can turn something around with food after we have the problem; changing to a Mediterranean diet offers us just that opportunity. Using herbs and spices like those who live in the Mediterranean do with such delicious results, you can make this change a real taste triumph and delight, while decreasing your risk of disease.