Greek researchers offered fresh evidence of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, reporting in a study cited Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal that it helps improve several risk factors linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet is high in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and also relies heavily on whole-grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, fish and low consumption of animal fats. Numerous studies and clinical trials showed that it could reduce mortality from causes like cardiovascular disease and cancer, but experts believe that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of such foods could confer health benefits across a variety of diseases.

In a new analysis that pooled findings from 50 different studies involving more than 500,000 patients, researchers led by Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, of Athens' Harakopio University, found that the diet also has beneficial effects against five components of a prediabetic condition called the metabolic syndrome.

Analysis found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 31 percent reduction in the risk of developing the syndrome.

The new study was published Monday by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Click here to read more on this story from the Wall Street Journal.