With a focus on eating vegetables, fruits, olive oil, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, the Mediterranean diet is seemingly good for your entire body! Some of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet health benefits practitioners include reducing the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and depression. Also, it can help prevent cognitive decline.
A large body of research points to this diet offering surprising benefits. Some other examples include improved memory and a reduction in blood sugar. This is not a new diet at this point. Indeed, people have long considered the Mediterranean diet among the healthiest diets. The Mediterranean diet health benefits list is staggering. You can quickly adopt it with few restrictions.
Some of the critical aspects of the Mediterranean diet include:
- Eating at least five servings of non-starchy vegetables a day
- Eating at least five servings of non-starchy vegetables a day and consuming healthy fats from fish, nuts, and olive oil sources.
- Enjoying two servings of legumes a week
- Eating at least a handful of nuts daily
- Get adequate protein from fish and eggs two or three times a week.
Let’s take a look at the many benefits of this lifestyle.
Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
One of the main factors that have made this diet so successful in helping people lose weight compared to other diets is that it is not a very restricting diet. This meal plan allows followers to indulge in their favorite foods regularly while keeping them fuller. This satisfaction makes it much easier to stick to a healthier diet.
To realize the full potential that this diet has and enjoy the maximum amount of weight loss possible, you should plan on sticking with it for at least six months. This should not be looked at as a “diet” but more as a lifestyle change that you plan on sticking with for life.
While you follow this diet, you can enjoy eating small amounts of bread and other carbs. Indeed, these are calorie-dense foods that can add up quickly if you’re not stringent with portioning. This can result in your weight loss stalling or reversing.
Bolsters Cognitive Health
Aside from enjoying a reduction in the risk of developing degenerative cognitive conditions such as Parkinson’s and dementia, followers of this diet can realize it also offers measurable improvements to the brain’s language capabilities
For faithful followers of this diet, the significance of these findings remains clear. But the younger generations can also benefit from the Mediterranean diet health benefits, both physical and mental. Following this diet can help maintain peak brain function throughout the lifetime of practitioners. Some of the potential benefits of this can include a healthier frame of mind, improved job performance, and a considerable bump in the quality of one’s life!
Puts You In A Better Mood
People suffering from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD can benefit from the boost to cognition resulting from following this diet.
These conditions may result from your brain not getting enough of the chemical in the brain responsible for thought processing, the regulation of one’s mood, and body movements; dopamine. By consuming foods encouraged by this diet, namely probiotic foods high in fiber and healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts, you can enjoy improvements in your mood and overall brain health. Also a possible cause of some mood disorders, poor gut health can be mitigated by this diet!
While scientists do not recommend this diet as a complete replacement for regular treatment programs for said conditions, following this diet can be used, with likely positive results, as a supplement to traditional medications and therapies. It’s not guaranteed, but with time you may find you do not need to medicate to suppress the symptoms of these disorders!
Helps to Maintain Heart Health
In countries where the population’s diet closely mirrors Mediterranean counties, heart disease is much lower than in other parts of the world. The dietary choices increased frequency of physical activity, and an emphasis on valued social support of those in Mediterranean countries are all factors that keep the heart and the rest of the body healthy.
Their diet often reduces the risk of death due to cardiovascular complications due to its positive impacts on LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
The beneficial effects this diet has on the heart health of practitioners are not only due to their food choices but also as a result of what they choose to drink. Long associated with a reduction in the rate of heart disease, the regular but moderate consumption of red wine is encouraged. The key here is reasonable, as in no more than ten ounces for men under 65 and no more than five ounces for women and men over 65.
Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes
When researchers looked at the Mediterranean diet compared with other healthy diets such as vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, high-fiber, high protein, or low-glycemic diets, they found that it provided more beneficial effects for those with diabetes or high blood sugar.
An emphasis on healthy foods with many monounsaturated fats such as fish, olive oil, and nuts and high fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables is what researchers attribute to the decreases in cholesterol and blood sugar in people with diabetes.
By replacing trans and saturated fats with healthier unsaturated fats, individuals have enjoyed improvements in insulin sensitivity.
Reduces Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease
By improving blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and the overall heartiness of your blood vessels, this diet significantly reduces your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia as you age!
Research indicates that when seniors follow a diet closely resembling that of Mediterranean countries, the rate of cognitive decline is slowed or even halted. This enables older adults to limit the burdens of illness, both economic and social while preserving their quality of life.
For a long time now, doctors have been trying to get patients to embrace healthier eating habits more in line with this diet as a possible means to combat cognitive conditions such as dementia.
Reduces Your Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease
As a result of the increase in healthy antioxidants you’ll be ingesting by following a diet similar to that of Mediterranean countries, you can drastically reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by nearly 50%!
Antioxidants, which occur in high concentrations in foods such as the vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and seafood encouraged by this diet, offer results by keeping your cells from undergoing a process known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause a lot of damage over time and can contribute to the development of Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases.
Most scientists agree that more research should look at the effects nutrition can have on neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. Indeed, studies shine a positive light on the diet’s ability to provide significant benefits to people genetically predisposed to or who face factors from their environment that can contribute to the onset of such conditions.
Fights Off Inflammation
Research on the impact of this diet on inflammation biomarkers in those at increased susceptibility showed that a diet such as this can regulate and even reduce these markers. This results in better control of inflammation within the body, which can act as a preventative measure against many of the conditions and concerns brought on as a result of chronic inflammation.
Indeed, the rich antioxidants of many foods consumed on this diet reduce your body’s likeliness of experiencing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a leading cause of inflammation.
To increase these beneficial effects even further, try increasing your intake of foods containing betaine and choline. Foods rich in betaine include vegetables such as spinach and beets. You can find choline in abundance in egg yolks and soybeans.
Staves Off Cancer
Studies have shown that followers of this diet enjoy a reduction in the risk of developing cancer and cancer-related mortality. The research says that the Mediterranean Diet plays a protective role in preventing cancer.
Aside from the general reduction in risk of cancer developing among devotees, studies have positively associated this type of diet and lifestyle with more specific types of cancer. One stand-out example is that the diet is particularly effective at reducing or preventing the development of postmenopausal breast cancer.
Improvements in Pain Management
High fiber vegetables and fruits, and magnesium-rich whole grains, all encouraged while following this diet, can provide real value and effects on pain management. Due to its effectiveness at reducing inflammation and providing stress relief, you’ll likely notice a huge difference in your body’s response to pain.
Magnesium is the real driver of this diet’s success in pain management and relief. If you’re looking for some of these Mediterranean diet health benefits, try to include more nuts, fish, legumes, whole grains, spinach, and chocolate.
Studies prove that a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish can positively affect fertility in even those who had trouble previously with trying to conceive! Admittedly, research continues on this topic. But, the diet’s overall other benefits mean that doctors still recommend trying to follow the diet’s guidelines closely.
With an overabundance of information available pointing to the Mediterranean diet being a real winner when it comes to weight loss and overall health, it’s hard to say no to giving it a chance. More people show an interest in their health and well-being today. So this diet is a safe bet for those that want a plan that they can stick with and benefit from for the foreseeable future!
Final Thoughts on the Many Reasons to Follow the Mediterranean Diet
With the Mediterranean diet, health benefits are plentiful! By adopting a few of these suggestions, you will improve your overall health and mood. The sooner you start on the right track to a healthier lifestyle, the better. Healthy living is cumulative, it’s not a race, and every little bit counts, eventually resulting in a better you!