The Mediterranean diet is one of the ancient healthy eating plans around the world. It is a popular pattern among dieters because of its flexibility, rich flavors, and overwhelming health benefits.
This post takes a look at this ancient but popular diet, its benefits, types of foods, and potential drawbacks.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is n eating plan that is based on the ancient diet of Mediterranean nations like France, Spain, Greece, and Italy. Different studies have shown that individuals from these countries experience low rates of chronic diseases than other countries owing to this eating pattern.
While there is no standard rule for the Mediterranean diet, it majorly recommends lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and seeds. The only restricted foods include; refined grains, added sugars, and processed foods.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
This diet plan has been related to several health benefits. Below are some of its potential benefits.
Increase weight loss.
The Mediterranean diet promotes eating different nutrient-filled foods and does not recommend added sugars and processed foods which are usually high in calories. In this regard, mixing Mediterranean diets with the required healthy lifestyle can promote weight loss.
Several studies have pointed out that Mediterranean diets have the same potential for weight loss as low-carb diets, translating up to 10kgs of weight loss.
Promotes heart health.
Multiple research has found that the Mediterranean diet could improve heart health. As a matter of fact, this diet plan is linked to reduced risks of stroke and heart disease.
The diet stresses walnuts, fatty fish, and canola oil, all of which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are responsible for lowering triglycerides, maintaining blood pressure, and keeping your vessels healthy, factors that keep your heart healthy in the long run.
Prevents cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
As a heart-friendly diet, a Mediterranean food plan can help minimize memory decline and thinking skills. The brain is a hungry organ in the body, so it needs a rich blood supply to supply all the necessary nutrients and oxygen.
A July 2016 report published in Frontier’s in Nutritional journal found encouraging evidence that strict adherence to this eating plan is linked to cognitive improvement, reducing cognitive decline, and minimizing conversion to Alzheimer’s disease.
It may help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.
For possible prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, a Mediterranean diet may be a great option.
Diabetes management requires a serious lifestyle change-turning to more natural foods and improving physical activity. Adding a meal diet that observes consumption of fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-rich meals like the Mediterranean diet goes a long way in managing type 2 diabetes.
Types of Mediterranean foods.
Although it is still controversial which foods exactly belong to this meal plan because of variations between countries, all of them are high in healthy plant foods and less of meat and animal products. Below are examples of these foods.
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butter.
- Whole grain.
- Fish and seafood.
- Healthy fats.
- Herbs and spices.
While there is no defined Mediterranean diet, this eating plan majorly focuses on healthy plants food and less on animal foods and products, with a great focus on seafood and fish.
Mediterranean diet has been linked to several health benefits like promoting heart health, improving brain function, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and improving sexual strength in men because of the improved blood circulation.
What’s more, there are different food options of Mediterranean diet one can adopt to. If you are not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of vegetables and herbs you can choose from.