A Mediterranean diet, Reuters reports, might help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in those with a high risk of developing heart disease. High in vegetables, fiber-rich grains, legumes, fish, and plant-based sources of unsaturated fat, the diet is thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
A study led by Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvado, a professor of nutrition at Rovira i Virgili University in Spain, tested 3,541 Spanish adults ages 55 to 80 with high risk for heart disease and found that those who were instructed to follow a Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop diabetes over four years than those who were instructed to follow a low-fat diet. Salas- Salvado attributes the success of the diet to its ability to lower the risk factors tied to diabetes: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar and triglycerides.
Although the diet does not call for a reduction in calories, researchers are not suggesting that exercise and the amount of calories consumed are unimportant. When paired with a Mediterranean diet, a reduction in calories would likely reduce the risks even further.