Eating like a Greek may lower your risk of diabetes, Counsel & Heal reported.
In an analysis of 19 research studies following more than 162,000 participants for an average of 5.5 years, researchers found that eating a Mediterranean diet reduced a person’s risk of developing diabetes by 21 percent. Furthermore, for people at a high risk for cardiovascular disease, the Mediterranean diet lowered their risk of developing diabetes by 27 percent.
"Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race or culture," lead investigator Demosthenes Panagiotakos, professor at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece, said in a news release. "This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet."
Study participants adhering to the diet – which was rich with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and olive oil – had a significantly lower risk of diabetes, even after factoring in race, genetics, environment and lifestyle factors.
"Diabetes is an ongoing epidemic and its relation to obesity, especially in the Westernized populations, is well known. We have to do something to prevent diabetes and changing our diet may be an effective treatment,” Panagiotakos said.
The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.