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A Combination of Metabolites Predicts Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Pattern and Its Associations with Insulin Sensitivity and Lipid Homeostasis in the General Population: The Fenland Study, United Kingdom.
Metabolic syndrome constitutes a long list of pathophysiological conditions, such as central adiposity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and hyperglycemia and the increased prevalence has been observed across all sociodemographic groups, owing to multifactorial etiologies. Patients with this condition are 3 times more likely to die from cardiovascular events or stroke. As a result of its increasing healthcare, economic, and social burdens, efforts are underway to understand the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases. A review based on current data from epidemiologic studies and clinical trials try to elucidate the role nutrition plays in attenuating the gut microbiota in preventing and managing metabolic syndrome. The attenuation of the gut microflora ratio of firmicutes/bacteroidetes through bioactive compounds found in the Mediterranean diet can be used as functional foods to improve cardiometabolic markers correlated with the development of metabolic syndrome. In addition, results from clinical, cross-sectional, and prospective studies were able to identify that olive oil positively corresponded with a reduction in oxidative damage to lipids and DNA, thereby reducing cardiometabolic risk factors associated with developing metabolic syndrome. The studies reviewed herein have shown that modulation of many gut microbial species via nutritional interventions can manage and treat metabolic syndrome through various mechanisms.
Mediterranean dietary pattern contain many phytochemicals that are found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains and extra-virgin olive oil, and they might account for some of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the Mediterranean diet. Polyphenols have shown to have cardio protective properties; however, their impact on iron bioavailability and potential impact on other aspects of health is unclear. A systematic review evaluated the relationship between habitual polyphenol consumption, iron status, and circulating biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. The selected studies used a variety of foods and supplements, including olive oil and cherries, rich in polyphenols including hydroxytyrosol, quercetin, and resveratrol, as well as catechin-enriched drinks. Polyphenols did not appear to interfere with iron status, and most studies reported improvements in inflammatory markers and lipid profile.
Cooking techniques also have an impact on bioactive compounds, but only few studies investigated the effect of the sofrito sauce ingredients and cooking time on 16 polyphenols typically found in tomatoes. The effect of the sofrito technique on the tomato polyphenol content shows that the use of extra virgin olive oil helps to extract polyphenols from the food matrix and may improve their bioaccessibility. Thus, Mediterranean cuisine with extra virgin olive oil may contribute to health effects of the Mediterranean diet.
Beyond the implication of olive oil on health, a recent review explored how dietary choices are a leading global cause of mortality and environmental degradation in order to inform decision-making and to better identify the multifaceted health and environmental impacts of dietary choices. They describe how consuming 15 different food groups was associated with 5 health outcomes and 5 aspects of environmental degradation and they find that foods associated with improved adult health also often have low environmental impacts (whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil). Dietary transitions toward greater consumption of healthier foods would generally improve environmental sustainability. These findings could help consumers, policy makers, and food companies to better understand the multiple health and environmental implications of food choices.