Lifestyle and diet play important roles in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death in Western countries. Metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors, is associated with the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes and CVD. Epidemiological studies have documented that nutritional factors may affect the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. Beyond weight control and reduction of total calories, the diet should be low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and simple sugars. In addition, there should be ample intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and monounsaturated fat; fish intake should be encouraged. These features are very reminiscent of the nutritional principles currently used to define the Mediterranean-style diet. This diet's high fiber content, n-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, as well as phytochemicals from olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, might be responsible for its beneficial effect on the health of metabolic syndrome patients. This may occur through the reduction of systemic vascular inflammation and endothelium dysfunction without having a drastic effect on body weight. The choice of healthy sources of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins, associated with regular physical activity and avoidance of smoking, is critical to fighting the war against chronic disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism