For many years, The Mediterranean Diet has been one of the widely recommended diets by nutritionists and medical professionals alike because of its numerous health benefits that can prolong lives.
So what really is The Mediterranean Diet and what are its benefits?
The Mediterranean Diet is originally inspired by the dietary patterns of people from Greece, Southern Italy and Spain during the 1940’s and 1950’s. It is primarily consist of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, a bit of dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt), a little bit of red wine and eliminating red mean from the diet or only once per week. (Wikipedia)
This diet, like any other diet, is of course not just solely a diet modification program but is also a lifestyle change. Exercise is very important as well as getting rid of vices such as smoking.
Now let’s talk about what it can do to our health…
1. Helps you lose weight naturally.
This diet is very realistic and sustainable because it gives you different options to lose weight in a healthy, no-deprivation-kind-of-way. The diet is all about consuming healthy fats and high-quality proteins while keeping intake of carbohydrates relatively low.
2. It is good for the heart.
According to the American Heart Association, the source of fat in a Mediterranean Diet is monounsaturated fats (mainly olive oil) which don’t raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fat does. Also, olive oil helps lower blood pressure because it makes nitric oxide more bioavailable, making your arteries dilated and clear. With this idea, we can say that this kind of diet is heart-friendly.
3. Lowers your Cancer-risk.
According to a study, Mediterranean Diet can be associated with reducing the risk of cancer incidence and mortality. Plant foods, which are main components of this diet, are rich sources of antioxidants that protect the body from DNA damage, cell mutation, inflammation and development of tumors. Olive oil is also thought to be a natural cancer cure and decreases the risk of colon and bowel cancers.
4. Prevents or Treats Diabetes
Since the diet is very low in sugar, it can obviously regulate the glucose levels in the body, which is very important in Diabetic patients or prevents you from acquiring one.
5. It can slow cognitive decline in aging adults.
Research shows that the Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which can eventually progress to Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is still unclear on how this type of diet can protect the brain function.