The claim: Sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet will lower your risk for diabetes by 21%, finds research presented at a conference of the American College of Cardiology.
The research: The Greek study team analyzed 19 prior reports featuring 5.5 years of health data on roughly 162,000 people. Regardless of race, sex, age, or nationality, following a Mediterranean-style diet plan was shown to significantly lower the risk of developing diabetes, the study data shows. That’s even truer for people at high risk for heart disease—a group that tends to suffer from diabetes at disproportionately high rates. In fact, for those in danger of heart disease, researchers say that adhering to a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk for diabetes by 27%.
What it means: Along with protecting you from cardiovascular disease and stroke, a Mediterranean diet lowers your odds of becoming obese by 30% or more, shows previous research published in The Journal of Nutrition. The researchers of this latest study say that it’s this drop in obesity risk that likely explains the link between a Mediterranean-style diet and lower rates of diabetes (obesity is among the most significant risk factors for diabetes).
The bottom line: The study authors stress that, regardless of your age or health status, switching to a Mediterranean-style diet can lower your risk for developing diabetes—especially if you’re at high risk for heart disease. That means eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, and olive oil. Get some cooking inspiration with these 20 ridiculously healthy Mediterranean meal ideas.