Scientists from the Second University of Naples and elsewhere found eating the Mediterranean diet can benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
Diets can influence various heart and metabolic risk factors, including body weight, blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar, oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood vessel health.
The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern characterized by the high intake of plant-based foods, olive oil as the main source of fat, low-to-moderate intake of fish, dairy products, and poultry, low intake of red and processed meat, and low-to-moderate intake of wine with meals.
More than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.
The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend the Mediterranean diet for improving blood sugar control and heart disease risk in type 2 diabetes.
Recent studies have found that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked to a 20-23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Results of some clinical trials found that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk for heart disease events by 20-30%.
In the current study, the researchers suggest that the mechanisms by which the Mediterranean diet provides its benefits in type 2 diabetes are, for the most, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative:
Increased consumption of high-quality foods may cool down the activation of the innate immune system, by reducing the production of proinflammatory cytokines while increasing that of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
This may favor the generation of an anti-inflammatory milieu, which in turn may improve insulin sensitivity in the peripheral tissues and blood vessel function.
Ultimately it can act as a barrier to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and the development of artery stiffness.
The research was published in Endocrine and conducted by Katherine Esposito et al.
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