Eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) may delay the need for blood-glucose-lowering medications in people with type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the journal Diabetes Care.
The Mediterranean diet tends to be rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, olive oil and fish, and has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including lower risk of heart attack and stroke, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
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Researchers in Spain randomly assigned 3,230 participants with type 2 diabetes from the Prevención con Dieta Mediterrànea (PREDIMED) trial to a Mediterranean-style eating plan supplemented with extra-virgin oil oil, to a Mediterranean-style eating plan supplemented with mixed nuts, or to a low-fat eating plan.
After following the subjects for roughly 3.2 years, the researchers found that those assigned to receive supplemental mixed nuts, and particularly those assigned to receive supplemental extra-virgin olive oil, were less likely to have started taking diabetes medications during the study period. The pattern also held true after 5.1 years of follow-up.
“Our study results show that PREDIMED participants with type 2 diabetes who underwent an intervention with an energy-unrestricted MedEatPlan + EVOO had significantly lower rates of initiation of glucose-lowering medications,” noted the study authors.
Want to learn more about the Mediterranean diet? Read “Five Reasons to Try the Mediterranean Diet” and watch “What Is the Mediterranean Diet?” then try five of our favorite diabetes-friendly Mediterranean recipes.
Senior Digital Editor for DiabetesSelfManagement.com, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.