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The Mediterranean diet, rich in whole grains, fruits, beans, fish and olive oil, may help reverse metabolic syndrome, according to research conducted at the Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus, in Spain. The study, published in CMAJ, surveyed the effects of the Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by a collection of risk factors for heart disease.
The study compared results of one group on the Mediterranean diet against a group on a low fat diet over a period of five years. Twenty-eight percent of those who maintained the Mediterranean diet no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.
"It seems that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or virgin olive oil has similar effects on the metabolic syndrome reversal," said lead author Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvado.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, which include increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels, that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.