Eating a Mediterranean diet has been reported as beneficial in preventing metabolic syndrome, slowing down the progression of atherosclerosis and decreasing risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a disorder of energy utilization and storage, which according to the American Heart Association, is characterized by at least three of the following five signs:
- Abdominal obesity: (excess body fat around the waist) waist circumference greater than 102 cm (40 inches) in men and greater than 88 cm (35 inches) in women
- High serum triglycerides level: equal to or greater than 150 mg/dl (1.7 mmol/L)
- Reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL): less than 40 mg/dL (1.03 mmol/L) in men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.29 mmol/L) in women
- Increased blood pressure: equal to or greater than 130/85 mmHg or use of medication for hypertension.
- Elevated fasting blood glucose level: equal to or greater than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or use of medication for hyperglycemia