AIMS:To examine the association between dietary anti-inflammatory index (D-AII) and metabolic syndrome (MetS)prevalence, 10-year (2002-2012) diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia incidence and 10-year transition from healthy (absence of all MetS traits, excluding waist circumference) to unhealthy metabolic status. METHODS:In 2001-2002, n = 1514 men and n = 1528 women (>18 years old) in Athens, Greece, free of cardiovascular disease were recruited. MetS was defined according to the revised NCEP ATP III (2005) or the IDF criteria or the harmonized criteria. The validated D-AII was calculated using a standardized procedure (range 10-77). RESULTS:Inverse associations were observed between D-AII and transition from healthy to unhealthy metabolic status (Odds Ratio (OR)3rd vs. 1st tertile = 0.88 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI)(0.73, 0.98)) and diabetes (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 0.55, 95%CI(0.29, 0.77)). In women, D-AII was inversely associated with transition from healthy to unhealthy metabolic status (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 0.55, 95%CI(0.26, 0.90), diabetes (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 0.41, 95%CI(0.18, 0.64) and hypertension (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 0.75, 95%CI(0.20, 0.95), yet only with diabetes incidence in men (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 0.62, 95%CI(0.38, 0.93). CONCLUSIONS:Diet with high anti-inflammatory load seems an effective preventive measure to retain a metabolically benign status, principally in terms of glycemic control.