Discover the 5 health benefits of following a delicious Mediterranean diet.
The word ‘diet’ makes many people groan. It invokes thoughts of food without taste, smaller portions, and the required discipline of a royal marine.
But that’s where the Mediterranean diet is slightly different. Not only is it known throughout the world as one of the healthiest diets – aiding weight loss and providing protection against illness and disease – it’s incredibly tasty.
What’s more, the tradition of enjoying Mediterranean cuisine involves sitting together to share food and talk, so it carries significant social benefits too.
How many eggs can you eat a day? Are they loaded with cholesterol? We find the answers for you, here.
The diet consists of vegetables, fruit, beans, olive oil, whole grain, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, cereals, and cereal products such as wholegrain bread, pasta and brown rice.
Fish, white meat and some dairy products play a moderate role in the diet, as does a small amount of wine with meals.
Red meat, butter and sweets are rarely consumed.
If you follow the Mediterranean diet, don’t smoke, and maintain a regular exercise plan then you could, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, avoid 80% of coronary heart disease, 70% of stroke, and 90% of type 2 diabetes.
Leads to a healthy heart
Consumption of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 foods, which feature heavily within the diet, is linked to a reduction in heart disease.
What’s more, a study presented at a heart disease conference in Rome claimed that those who ate a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were 37% less likely to die early than those who ate red meat and butter.
The Mediterranean diet contains quality sources of protein and healthy fatty acids, and it is low in sugar – all of which contributes to the prevention of diabetes.
Fights against dementia
The diet is linked with lower rates of Alzheimer’s as it encourages intake of healthy fats, the likes of which can be found in nuts and olive oil, and anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables. Both of these food types help counter impaired brain function caused by free radicals, exposure to toxicity, and inflammation.
Improves your mood and helps you relax
As well as its physical health benefits, the Mediterranean diet offers mental benefits too. By adopting the tradition of sitting down with family and friends to enjoy the delicious foods offered by the diet, you engage in conversation and social interaction which helps you de-stress and unwind.
As well as enjoying the diet, you should maintain a regular exercise regime as this helps to keep you physically healthy which has a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
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Helps to battle cancer
According to the European Journal of Cancer Prevention:
The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favourable effect of a balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids and high amounts of fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruit, vegetables, olive oil and wine.
European Journal of Cancer Prevention, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22644232
The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/02/mediterranean-diet-obesity-health-way-of-eating
Dr Axe, https://draxe.com/mediterranean-diet/