The Mediterranean diet, with abundant quantities of virgin olive oil, provides strong protection against diabetes, a study has shown.
The diet, which includes high quantities of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain pulses and cereals is already known to protect against cardiovascular disease and, according to some research, against Alzheimer's.
Now scientists in Spain have found that it also offers a defence against the epidemic of diabetes associated with growing rates of obesity and the consumption of high-fat fast foods.
Researchers who monitored the eating habits of 13,000 graduates from the University of Navarra for eight years from 1999 to 2007 found those who stuck closely to a Mediterranean diet had an 83 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes. Those who followed the diet most rigorously had more risk factors for diabetes, such as being older, having a family history of the illness and a history of smoking. Yet they were less likely to develop the disease.
This suggests the protective effect of the diet might be "substantial", the authors report in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal. Professor Martinez-Gonzalez said: "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."
Source - Independent