Fight off the Risk of Diabetes with a Mediterranean Diet
Posted Nov 21 2008 4:31pm
To provide you with strong protection from diabetes you should have a Mediterranean diet with abundant quantities of virgin olive oil, a study has shown.The diet, which consists of large quantities of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain pulses and cereals can help you fight cardiovascular disease and, according to some research, Alzheimer’s.
Scientists in Spain have discovered that the diet also provides a defence against diabetes, which is associated with growing rates of obesity and the consumption of high-fat food.
An eight year study involving 13,000 graduates from the University of Navarra found that those who stuck to a Mediterranean diet had an 83 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.
Professor Martinez-Gonzalez said in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal that, “Substantial protection against diabetes can be obtained with the traditional Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, vegetables, fruit, nuts, cereals, legumes and fish, but relatively low in meat and dairy products.”
In addition to high levels of antioxidant vitamins, which mop up free radicals – damaging substances in the blood thought to be linked with cancer and arterial damage – the diet also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, both risk factors for heart disease.
People who eat a Mediterranean diet are less likely to be obese, have a lower risk of breast and bowel cancer and half the rate of lung disease. Tests also showed that it reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by 40 per cent.
What is Diabetes?
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.
When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is predicted by a clear set of symptoms, but it still often goes undiagnosed.
Diabetes affects 177 million people worldwide. Studies predict this will rise to over 300 million by 2025, roughly 9% of the global population.
There are over 2 million diabetic people in the UK according to the IDF, with over 750,000 people undiagnosed.