As its name suggests, the Mediterranean diet is the type of diet emphasized by people living in countries by the Mediterranean Sea. Not all of these countries eat the same mind you, as there are some cultural and social differences between them. But, one is certain – with this type of diet, the risk of you getting cancer or any cardiovascular disease will drop down dramatically. That’s why lots of Americans are flocking to this type of diet, as cardiovascular diseases are one of the biggest problems in the US. So, let’s learn what is the Mediterranean diet, and what are its benefits!
So, What is the Mediterranean Diet, Actually?
Following this type of diet follows the dietary principles of the Mediterranean people in the 1960s. Actually, during this period and in this specific region, the risk of heart diseases was the lowest in the world! The traditional food that forms the Mediterranean diet includes fresh produce, legumes, and whole grains, and a healthy dose of healthy fats and seafood.
To be more specific, this kind of food forms the Mediterranean diet:
- Vegetables. Tomatoes, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, etc.
- Fruit. Apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grapes, peach, etc.
- Legumes. Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, etc.
- Fish and Seafood. Sardine, salmon, tuna, shrimp, oyster, crab, etc.
- Seeds and Nuts. Walnut, almond, hazelnut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Tubers. Potato and sweet potato, yam, turnip, etc.
- Poultry. Duck, chicken, turkey.
- Whole Grains. Brown rice, corn, whole oatmeal, whole wheat, whole-grain pasta, and bread, etc.
- Dairy. Yogurt, Greek yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Herbs. Basil, garlic, mint, sage, rosemary, etc.
- Healthy Fats. Avocado, avocado oil, olives, extra virgin olive oil.
One point to keep in mind is to stay away from added sugars, processed meat, refined oils, and refined grains.
It is recommended to take at least 1 glass of red wine for women, and 2 glasses for men. Red wine can improve your cardiovascular health in the long term. Just don’t indulge too much in it, as it can be counterproductive for your heart health if you go over the limit! Also, now that we are talking about liquid, drinking lots of water is a must in the Mediterranean diet!
Daily physical exercise is a part of a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle. So, make sure to implement some daily physical exercise in your daily life. It doesn’t have to be anything hardcore! Walking around your block every day can do wonders for your health in the long term too.
Some Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
As this type of diet consists of a lot of fresh produce, nutrient-rich food, and a healthy dose of exercise, there are numerous health benefits for you to reap! Let’s list just a few of them!
- Better Sleep Quality. If you are an older adult facing difficulties sleeping, good news for you! Some studies concluded that the Mediterranean diet indeed promotes better sleep quality in this age group. However, with young adults, there is no noticeable impact.
- Helps With Losing Weight. As this diet is full of nutrients, and you are not just pumping calories in your system blindly, it certainly helps with weight loss. There are quite a few studies with numerous subjects that report more weight loss on the Mediterranean diet than on some kind of low-fat diet. This makes this type of diet the best one for weight loss!
- Greatly Lowers the Risk of Heart Diseases. With the combination of less processed food and red meat, as well as low saturated fats, coupled with lots of physical and social activity, the Mediterranean diet style (and lifestyle!) reduces the risk of heart diseases and death by 20% over the regular diet.
- Keeps You Energetic. For older adults, the nutrients gained from this diet can reduce risks such as muscle weakness and other signs of weakness by a whopping 70%!
So, now that you know what is the Mediterranean diet, are you convinced to make a positive change? Keep in mind that this type of diet is called blasphemy by some because of how expensive it can be. Trust us, if you choose the ingredients well, this type of diet can be cheaper than your regular, and probably much less healthy, diet!