According to researchers, the Mediterranean Diet (MD) is currently considered one of the most healthy dietary models worldwide. Inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea, the diet consists of daily intake of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, white meats, and olive oil. In addition, it may include moderate consumption of fermented dairy products, a low intake of red meat, and red or white wine during the main course. Not only does the Mediterranean Diet boast physical, but also mental health benefits. Read on to learn more about the life-changing lessons we’ve compiled from the Mediterranean Diet.
1. Reduced risk for heart disease
Numerous studies suggest that following a Mediterranean diet can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It is rich in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and nuts, which are heart-healthy. In addition, it provides adequate levels of omega 3 fatty acids from seafood, which also supports good cardiovascular health.
2. Less cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease
Your brain needs abundant nutrients and oxygen through a rich blood supply to function properly and stay healthy. Because the Mediterranean way of eating promotes heart and vascular health, it also helps support cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Easier weight loss and maintenance
Studies have shown that eating a Mediterranean diet high in unsaturated vegetable fat leads to slightly more weight loss than a low-fat diet. Especially those who add extra-virgin olive oil to their diets experience more weight. Because the diet is rich in whole, fresh foods, it may help you lose weight in a safe and sustainable way and keep it off long-term.
4. Improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression
According to a report of 41 observational studies published in September 2018 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower incidence of depression. The pooled data from several long-term studies showed that people following the diet had a 33% reduced risk of depression, compared to individuals who followed a pro-inflammatory diet, rich in processed meats, sugar, and trans fats.
5. Eating a Mediterranean Diet may help reduce the risk of certain cancers
A review of 83 studies published In October 2017 in the journal Nutrients suggested that the Mediterranean diet may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer, as well as help prevent cancer-related death. Researchers believe that these cancer prevention benefits result from a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In addition, another study published in October 2015 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found evidence that women who supplemented their Mediterranean Diet with extra-virgin olive oil had a 62% lower risk of developing breast cancer than those in the control group who ate a low-fat diet.
It goes without saying that a healthy diet is essential to maintaining good health. While it can be difficult to choose a diet among the many diet claims of better health and wellbeing, scientific evidence suggests that you cannot go wrong when following a Mediterranean Diet.