The Mediterranean diet offers numerous health benefits that are good for the whole body. With a focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, whole grains, and nuts, the Mediterranean diet offers numerous health benefits. Benefits of this diet include a reduction in the risk of developing depression, cancer, cognitive decline, and heart disease!
A growing body of evidence shines a light on the many excellent health benefits of this diet. A marked reduction in blood sugar and apparent improvements in memory among practitioners are just a few highlights of this diet. Touted by many as one of the healthiest diets, with few dietary restrictions and a laundry list of benefits, this diet is easy to stick with!
Some essential guidelines of the Mediterranean diet are:
- Consume a handful of nuts a day
- Consume five or more servings of vegetables a day
- Eat two or more servings of legumes a week
- Consume healthy fats from sources such as fish, nuts, and olive oil
- Consume protein from lean sources such as eggs and fish two to three times weekly
To give you a better idea of what the research says, we’ve broken down 10 of the significant Mediterranean diet health benefits you can enjoy:
1. Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
A study compared the Mediterranean diet with other healthy diets such as vegetarian, low-carb, vegan, high-fiber, high protein, or low-glycemic diets and discovered that it resulted in more positive effects for those dealing with high blood sugar or diabetes.
The study attributes the reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol in diabetes to the diet’s focus on consuming healthier foods high in monounsaturated fats such as nuts, olive oil, some fish, and foods high in fiber such as vegetables and fruits.
By focusing on healthier unsaturated fats, followers of this diet benefit from improvements to their insulin response, in part likely due to a reduction in saturated and trans fat consumption.
2. Fights Off Cancer
Recent research showed that this diet’s practitioners benefited from a noticeably reduced rate of suffering cancer or mortality due to cancer.
More specifically, this diet has shown positive signs of preventing or reducing the chances of postmenopausal women developing breast cancer!
3. Encourages Healthy Weight Loss
Compared to other diets, this diet is not nearly as restrictive, which lends to it being much more accessible to stick with over the long run than other diets with more stringent food choices, resulting in a higher rate of weight loss success! Enjoying your favorite treats on occasion while remaining full throughout the day makes a healthy diet easy to stick with for the long haul!
It is best to stay with it for six months or more. However, you’d truly benefit most from planning to remain on the healthy eating streak for the rest of your life! This diet makes that possible!
Carbohydrates such as bread are okay and even encouraged in moderation while following this meal plan. Be mindful of portion sizes with these types of food, though, as they’re higher in calories per serving than other foods, and going overboard can trigger your weight loss to halt or even head in the other direction!
4. Helps to Maintain Healthy Heart Function
Where the traditional diet is most similar to that of Mediterranean nations, heart disease occurs at a much lower rate. This comes from the increased physical fitness, emphasis on family, and healthy food choices, all of which result in a healthy body and heart especially!
Due to the diet’s positive effects on “bad” cholesterol levels, a reduction in the death rate resulting from heart disease often occurs.
It is not just the food guidelines that promote improvement in heart health among followers of this diet. Indeed, it is also the suggestions on what to drink. Light consumption of red wine is typical with this diet. But the critical thing here is to keep it moderate. A general rule of thumb is not to consume more than fine ounces a day.
5. Assists The Body In Fighting Off Inflammation
Researchers observed the diet’s effect on the inflammation biomarkers in the body in those especially susceptible to inflammation. They noted a reduction in these markers. The body is better able to keep inflammation in check, acting as a preventative means of fending off conditions commonly associated with chronic inflammation.
One of the main factors that cause inflammation, oxidative stress, is less likely to be experienced by the body when eating the antioxidant-rich foods promoted by this diet.
To further improve your body’s response to inflammation, increase your consumption of egg yolks and soybean, both high in choline, and spinach and beets, both vegetables that betaine is found in high quantities. Betaine and choline both offer noticeable effects against inflammation.
6. Offers Improvements To Cognitive Health
Improvements in cognitive abilities often happen for followers of this diet! Studies indicate that improved attention, memory capacity, and focus can all happen due to following the rough guidelines of this diet! Also improved is the brain’s ability to process language.
Those both young and old can benefit from the Mediterranean diet’s brain-boosting effects! Peak brain function is much easier to maintain while following this diet. Further, it can be held throughout all of the dieter’s life! As a result, improved performance at work, improvements to one’s quality of life, and an overall healthier mindset can be attained!
7. Reduces Parkinson’s Disease Risk
People whose diets closely mirror that of Mediterranean countries consume healthier, antioxidant-rich foods in high amounts, which results in a startling reduction in the risk of Parkinson’s disease developing, sometimes by as much as 50%!
By encouraging the consumption of fruits, vegetables, seafood, and healthy fats, all foods high in antioxidants, your cells are less likely to experience the harmful process of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is something that you want to avoid. It underscores the development of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and can cause a lot of damage.
Researchers admit that more studies need to be completed to get a better picture of what effects nutrition has on neuroprotection and neurodegeneration. It is promising though, and the diet appears to offer many benefits to those with a genetic predisposition to the aforementioned conditions.
8. Reduces Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
Due to this diet’s ability to improve cholesterol, sugar levels, and the cardiovascular system as a whole, a significant reduction in the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s development is likely.
Cognitive decline may be slowed or halted entirely if one follows these dietary guidelines, research has indicated.
Medical practitioners for years have encouraged their patients to adopt healthy eating habits that closely follow these dietary rules. Many believe is enhances the body’s ability to fight off cognitive conditions like dementia.
9. Offers An Improvement To Your Mood
People with ADHD, anxiety, and depression may all enjoy the improvement in cognition gained as a benefit of this diet.
The foods featured heavily in this diet all promote your body’s ability to regulate many different hormones. These include dopamine which is the chemical responsible for mood regulation, body movement, and the processing of thought. As a result of sticking within the guidelines of this diet, namely the consumption of healthier fats such as nuts and olive oil, and high-fiber foods, improvements to overall brain health and mood are likely!
Researchers are still on the fence about whether or not this diet could replace traditional treatments for these conditions. However, most view it as an excellent tool to be used alongside therapy and medication. Give it a try and you may find that you don’t need to medicate after all!
10. Improvements in Your Body’s Pain Management
Due to the magnesium-rich grains and higher fiber fruits and vegetables, this diet creates measurable effects on the body’s ability to manage pain. By way of providing relief from stress and a reduction in the body’s inflammation response, it’s likely that improvements in the body’s ability to deal with pain will be noticed!
The key nutrient responsible for the diet’s ability to positively affect pain management and offer pain relief is Magnesium. To gain this Mediterranean diet health benefits, include fish, legumes, nuts, spinach, chocolate, and whole grains prominently in your diet.
More and more research is coming out all the time that indicates the Mediterranean diet is a great choice for those looking to lose a little weight while maintaining peak health. Health and wellness is a hot topic these days. Of course, this diet is an easy choice for those looking for a simple diet to stick with for life!
With copious Mediterranean diet health benefits on offer, the Mediterranean diet offers you the chance to enjoy real improvements in your mood and health as a whole!