Top 10 benefits of a Meditteranean diet
Anyone who follows my blog regularly knows that I am a huge proponent of eating a Mediterranean diet – I’ve even written a book about it: All Sorts of Healthy Dishes. Traditionally a Mediterranean diet consists of large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil (one of my personal favourites) while limiting your intake of red meat. While eating the Mediterranean way is certainly delicious, there are also many proven Mediterranean diet benefits that come along with this lifestyle. Read on to see why you should make the change to eating the Mediterranean way.
1.Helps to prevent heart disease and strokes
A Meditteranean diet is heart smart! This style of eating limits your intake of refined bread, processed foods, red meat, and encourages drinking red wine instead of hard liquor (although in moderation of course) – all factors that can help prevent heart disease and stroke.
2.Protecting against type 2 diabetes.
A diet that includes a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, alongside whole grains and legumes is extremely high in fibre. Fibre promotes healthy digestion and helps to maintain healthy insulin levels. This not only helps prevent type 2 diabetes but also appears to reduce the risk of bowel cancer and cardiovascular disease.
3.Helps to keep you limber
If you’re an older adult, the nutrients gained with a Mediterranean diet may reduce your risk of developing muscle weakness and other signs of frailty by about 70%. Nutrients like Omega 3 that are found in oily fish can enhance joint mobility, which means you’ll stay more limber for longer.
4.Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
We all want to live a longer, healthier life which is why it’s good news that research suggests the Mediterranean diet may improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and overall blood vessel health, which in turn may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
5.Cutting the risk of Parkinson’s disease in half
In recent years, it has been shown that active oxygen species or free radicals are closely involved in various diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease. The high levels of antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet can prevent cells from undergoing a damaging process called oxidative stress, thereby cutting the risk of Parkinson’s disease in half.
6.Helps with weight loss
The Mediterranean diet is not a weight loss diet, it’s more of a healthy lifestyle adjustment. That being said, increasing fibre intake and cutting out red meat, animal fats, and processed food may lead to weight loss. Since the Mediterranean diet is rich in fibre which digests slowly it helps to prevent huge swings in blood sugar, which will help you maintain a healthy weight.
One of the best things about Mediterranean diet benefits is that it doesn’t cost a lot to eat this way. If you’re creating meals out of beans or lentils as your main source of protein and sticking with mostly plants the Mediterranean diet is less expensive than eating loads of packaged or processed foods.
8.It’s full of antioxidants
Antioxidants are a crucial part of your diet because you can’t avoid oxidation all together. A Medittrean diet is extremely high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, which means better protection for your body and overall health. Interestingly studies found that people who followed a traditional Mediterranean diet had an 11% higher antioxidant capacity than those who didn’t.
9.Helps you to live a longer, better life
It should go without saying that by reducing your risk of developing heart disease with the Mediterranean diet, you’re reducing your risk of death at any age by 20%. Coupled with that is the fact that if your body is healthier and you don’t have pain and joint problems, your quality of life will stay better, for longer.
One of the top Mediterranean diet benefits is that it’s social. The food is a huge part of the diet, but don’t overlook the other ways the Mediterraneans live their lives. Part of this way of eating is sharing meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine and being physically active. When they sit down for a meal, they don’t sit in front of a television or eat in a rush; they sit down for a relaxed, leisurely meal with others, which may be just as important for your health as what’s on your plate.
If you’re feeling daunted by the thought of changing your eating habits to a Mediterranean diet, never fear! It’s easy to get started. Eat lots of vegetables and fish dishes but moderate your red meat intake. Enjoy some dairy products such as natural cheese and Greek or plain yoghurt. Swap out rich creamy desserts and high-fat items, avoid highly processed grains and bread and make the switch to olive oil. Wishing you happy and healthy munching!