Scientists from the Second University of Naples and elsewhere suggest that eating the Mediterranean diet could benefit health in people with type 2 diabetes.
The Mediterranean diet has been widely recognized as a healthy dietary pattern for overall health and disease prevention.
In addition to its benefits for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with reduced risk of several other chronic diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, which provide a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Olive oil is the main source of fat in the diet, which is known for its monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and inflammation.
Moderate intake of fish, poultry, and dairy products provides lean protein sources, while red and processed meat consumption is limited.
Low-to-moderate consumption of wine with meals, primarily red wine, is also a characteristic of the Mediterranean diet and has been linked to the presence of flavonoids and other beneficial compounds.
Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is the ability of the body to respond to insulin and regulate blood sugar.
This is due to the high fiber content in the diet, which helps slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, as well as the consumption of high-quality foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The anti-inflammatory effects of the Mediterranean diet are thought to be related to the increased consumption of foods rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, such as fruits, vegetables, and olive oil.
These compounds have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are key contributors to the development of chronic diseases.
In addition, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with reduced levels of markers of inflammation in the blood, such as C-reactive protein.
The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to improve endothelial function, which is the ability of the blood vessels to relax and dilate in response to increased blood flow.
Endothelial dysfunction is an early marker of atherosclerosis, a disease process that underlies many cardiovascular diseases.
The high consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the Mediterranean diet provides a variety of vitamins and minerals that support endothelial function, while the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in olive oil help maintain the integrity of the blood vessel walls.
Overall, the Mediterranean diet is a well-established dietary pattern that has been shown to have numerous health benefits, particularly for individuals with type 2 diabetes and those at risk for cardiovascular disease.
By incorporating more plant-based foods, healthy fats, and moderate alcohol consumption, the Mediterranean diet offers a sustainable and enjoyable way to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The research was published in Endocrine and conducted by Katherine Esposito et al.
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