Obesity and metabolic syndrome: Potential benefit from specific nutritional components
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) manifestations is rapidly increasing worldwide, and is becoming an important health problem. Actually, MetS includes a combination of clinical complications such as obesity (central adiposity), insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hypertension. All these alterations predispose individuals to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease inducing earlier mortality rates among people. In general terms, it is difficult for patients to follow a standard long-term diet/exercise regime that would improve or alleviate MetS symptoms. Thus, the investigation of food components that may deal with the MetS features is an important field for ameliorate and facilitate MetS dietary-based therapies. Currently antioxidants are of great interest due to the described association between obesity, cardiovascular alterations and oxidative stress. On the other hand, high MUFA and PUFA diets are being also considered due to their potential benefits on hypertension, insulin resistance and triglyceride levels. Mineral composition of the diet is also relevant since high potassium intake may improve hypertension and high calcium consumption may promote lipid oxidation. Thus, although nutritional supplements are at the peak of dietetic therapies, the consumption of some specific foods (legumes, fatty fish, vegetables and fruits, etc) with bioactive components within an energy-restricted diet is a promising approach to manage MetS manifestations. Therefore, the present review focuses on some of the most important food components currently investigated to improve and make easier the nutritional MetS treatment.