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Mediterranean diet the best choice for fighting diabetes

January 9, 2014

Nearly 11 million adults 65 and older have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, which accounts for almost 27 percent of the senior population. Despite the prevalence of the disease, there are a number of proven methods that can help older adults reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and a new study suggests adhering to a Mediterranean diet is one of the latest options, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study focused on the diets of more than 3,540 older adults who were at a high risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet, which had a heavy emphasis on chicken, fish, olive oil and nuts, were about 18 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who simply followed a low-fat diet. Furthermore, those results persisted even without any significant weight loss. 

"The important message from this study is the value of a Mediterranean diet plan to satiety and overall health," Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, told HealthDay News. "Inclusion of plant foods, including nuts, along with the use of olive oil in place of solid fats provides a wider variety of phytonutrients, which promote health, aid metabolism and provide feelings of fullness, all important aspects of weight control."

This is certainly not the first time that the Mediterranean diet has been singled out as one of the best options for healthy aging. In 2013, for instance, researchers reviewing 12 previously conducted trials found that older adults who ate the Mediterranean diet saw improved brain function and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.