What Are The Benefits of Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet has a long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest eating patterns around. It’s flexible and rich in flavorful foods. And because of the numerous health benefits of Mediterranean diet it’s also considered one of the most popular plans among dieters. In fact the Mediterranean diet has a link to increased weight loss. Decreased inflammation and a lower risk of chronic disease. This article takes a look at the Mediterranean diet including its health benefits and foods to eat and avoid.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet as a style of eating is based on the traditional diets of Mediterranean countries. Like Spain, France, Italy and Greece. And researchers noticed that people in these countries had lower rates of chronic disease. Compared with those in the United States and northern Europe. And they attributed this to their unique dietary pattern. Unlike other popular diets, the Mediterranean diet focuses on including certain foods and food groups.
Rather than counting calories or tracking macronutrients. Healthy fats, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains are a few of the key components of the Mediterranean diet. On the other hand less healthy ingredients like red meat, sweets and processed foods are restricted.
How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes mostly nutrient-rich whole food ingredients. Like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains. Though it focuses primarily on plant foods. Other ingredients like poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy can also be enjoyed in moderation. Meanwhile processed foods, added sugars, refined grains and sugar sweetened beverages should be avoided.
Engage In Regular Physical Activity
In addition to making changes to your diet, engaging in regular physical activity is another crucial component of the Mediterranean diet. Walking, running, bicycling, playing sports and lifting weights. These are just a few examples of healthy physical activities that you can add to your routine.
Benefits of Mediterranean Diet
There are several health benefits of Mediterranean diet.
1. Helpful for weight loss
The Mediterranean diet encourages eating a variety of nutrient-rich food. And limits processed foods and added sugars. Which are often high in calories. For this reason pairing the Mediterranean diet with a healthy lifestyle could promote weight loss. One review of five studies found that the Mediterranean diet was as effective as other popular diets. Like the low-carb diet for weight loss resulting in up to 22 pounds or 10 kilograms of weight loss over one year.
Likewise a large study in over 32,000 people shows that long-term adherence to the Mediterranean diet results in decrease in risk of gaining weight. And belly fat over five years.
2. Improves Heart Health
Multiple studies have found that following the Mediterranean diet could enhance heart health. In one study following a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or olive oil for three months led to significant improvements in cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. Both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Similarly another study observed that following the Mediterranean diet. And eating one ounce 30 grams of mixed nuts daily for a year reduced the prevalence of metabolic syndrome by nearly 14 percent.
3. Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. What’s more a review of 41 reports shows that the Mediterranean diet has an association with a lower risk of heart disease. And stroke in people with diabetes.
4. Protects against type 2 diabetes
Some research has found that the Mediterranean diet could protect against type 2 diabetes. For instance one study in 418 people notes significant effects. That those who follow a Mediterranean diet are 52 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Over an average of four years compared with a control group.
Also a study in 901 people with type two diabetes shows that long-term adherence to the Mediterranean diet has a link to lower levels of blood sugar. And hemoglobin a1c a marker of long-term blood sugar control.
5. Improves Insulin Functions
Furthermore other research suggests that the Mediterranean diet could help improve the body’s ability to use insulin. A hormone that regulates blood sugar, reduces inflammation. That helps your immune system protect against illness and infection. Chronic inflammation can contribute to disease. And may increase the risk of the development of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Therefore the Mediterranean diet may help reduce levels of inflammation. Which could help prevent illness. For example one study in 598 people shows that stricter adherence to the Mediterranean diet has a link to lower levels of several markers of inflammation. In another study in 66 older adults following the Mediterranean diet for 3 to 5 years was associated with decreased markers of inflammation.