Olive oil and nuts could help reverse metabolic syndrome

Supplementing your diet with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts could help reverse metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to diabetes, heart disease and early death.

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that participants who ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts fared better than people who ate a low-fat diet when it came to reversing symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

"In this large, multicenter, randomized clinical trial involving people with high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil was associated with a smaller increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared with advice on following a low-fat diet," said study author Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvadó. "Because there were no between-group differences in weight loss or energy expenditure, the change is likely attributable to the difference in dietary patterns."

Metabolic syndrome risks

Metabolic syndrome is a set of symptoms that predispose a person to develop diabetes and other health complications, and it's characterized by large waist circumference, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high blood sugar.

In the study, the two groups of participants eating a Mediterranean diet (and either supplementing with nuts or olive oil) decreased their central obesity and blood glucose levels, with 28.2 percent of the individuals reversing metabolic syndrome entirely within 4.8 years.

A large body of research has linked the Mediterranean diet to protective health benefits, including lowered risk of artery disease, lowered blood pressure, and reduced risk for heart attack or stroke.

Source: CMAJ

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