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Mediterranean diet: Recipe for life

ATHENS, Greece, March 8 (UPI) -- The Mediterranean diet -- olive oil, produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, nuts and legumes -- is a recipe for healthy living, Greek researchers found.

Lead investigator Demosthenes Panagiotakos and doctoral student Christina-Maria Kastorini of the University of Athens conducted a meta-analysis involving 50 studies on the Mediterranean diet and a half-million people.

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Their review, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found the Mediterranean diet lowered the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer. It also was proven beneficial for metabolic syndrome, waist circumference, high-density lipoprotein or the "bad" cholesterol levels, triglycerides levels, blood pressure levels and glucose metabolism.

"Additionally, the metabolic syndrome is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease -- directly or indirectly -- associated with personal and socioeconomic burdens. As a result, prevention of this condition is of considerable importance," the researchers said in a statement.

"Our results add to the existing knowledge and further demonstrate the protective role and the significance that lifestyle factors, and mainly dietary habits, have when it comes to the development and progression of the metabolic syndrome."

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