A Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil or nuts may be able to reverse metabolic syndrome, a condition that affects a quarter of all people worldwide. Symptoms include large waist circumference, high blood pressure, and low HDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Eating the diet for up to five years can reverse the symptoms in 28 per cent of sufferers, and take them out of the danger zone for heart disease and premature death.
A group of 3,707 adults aged between 55 and 80 years, who all had metabolic syndrome, ate a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil or with nuts, while the third group ate a standard low-fat diet.
After 56 months, both groups on the Mediterranean diets had lost weight and had lower blood glucose levels, and 28 per cent of them no longer had the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Similar improvements weren't seen in the group on the low-fat diet.
(Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal, October 2014; doi: 10.1503/cmaj.140764)