Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a group of conditions characterized by high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, and elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Glucose levels may also be elevated making the body more resistant to the effects of glucose. As a result of the elevated levels in the body, systemic inflammation is also a problem for many people with MetS.
In 2011, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology compiled over 50 studies encompassing over 500,000 participants. The results were strongly in favor of a Mediterranean Diet decreasing both the incidence and progression of MetS.
A Mediterranean Diet is one that includes plenty of heart healthy monosaturated fats, particularly from olive oil. It also includes a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins in the form of fish and poultry and a moderate amount of alcohol, generally from wine.
Foods found in a Mediterranean Diet are high in both anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The foods also promote increased levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol. The benefits are even more pronounced if exercise is included as part of the program.
Doctors often prescribe the Mediterranean Diet for patients because it includes a wide variety of foods, which taste good. Additionally, the diet is easy to follow. Adherence is vital to the success of any diet plan and with the wide variety of foods available; most individuals can find several foods they like. People with MetS often find it difficult to lose weight. The Mediterranean Diet can help with weight loss since, when followed, doesn’t promote obesity.
In addition to the increase in HDL levels, many people find their LDL levels drop as does overall triglycerides. Glucose levels and blood pressure decrease as well. As weight drops, so does overall waist size decreasing the risk of heart disease. As symptoms decrease, many patients begin to feel better and continue with a healthy lifestyle.
A Mediterranean Diet helps with overall health while decreasing the symptoms of MetS. For those looking to prevent the progression of MetS, adopting a Mediterranean Diet now can prevent the damage it can cause later