Subject: Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors which severely increases the risk of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Several epidemiological studies have observed a negative association between polyphenol intake and MetS rates. Nevertheless, there are relatively small numbers of interventional studies evidencing this association. This review is focused on human interventional trials with polyphenols as polyphenol-rich foods and dietary patterns rich in polyphenols in patients with MetS. Current evidence suggests that polyphenol intake has the potential to alleviate MetS components by decreasing body weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose and by improving lipid metabolism. Therefore, high intake of polyphenol-rich foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, seasoning with aromatic plants, spices, and virgin olive oil may be the cornerstone of a healthy diet preventing the development and progression of MetS, although there is no polyphenol or polyphenol-rich food able to influence all MetS features. However, inconsistent results have been found in different trials, and more long-term randomized trials are warranted to develop public health strategies to decrease MetS rates.