The Mediterranean diet has exploded in popularity over the last few years, and it’s not just because it comes with feeling like you’re eating on a Greek island or in an Italian villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Following this diet has been linked to countless health benefits and is a sustainable and delicious way to eat.
One beautiful thing about the Mediterranean diet is that it is not really a diet in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a lifestyle that mimics the way people live in the Mediterranean. Meals are enjoyed in the company of others, food is not wolfed in a parking lot, and physical activity is practiced every day.
Of course, food choice is also an important factor in this diet / lifestyle. Nutrient-dense and balanced is the name of the game when building your Mediterranean diet plate. You will not find pre-packaged, fried, sugary or heavily processed foods on Mediterranean plates. Instead, you will find some nutritional dieting stars like:
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
- Fish, eggs, lean beef and chicken (not fried!)
So why adopt the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle? Here are 8 things that can happen to your body when you start living like those who live by the Mediterranean. Read on and do not miss the 7 healthiest foods that can be eaten right now to learn more about how to eat healthy.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. And while some risk factors are completely beyond your control – think genetics and age as examples – others are completely modifiable.
Diet is a factor that can help your body fight heart disease risk if you choose the right foods. And following the Mediterranean diet has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease in various studies.
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From intermittent fasting to keto to supertrendy juice cleansers, weight loss solutions are a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, while many of these diets will result in weight loss in the short term, the effects will not be long lasting.
Following the Mediterranean diet is linked to long-term weight loss and has even been shown to be more effective than a low-fat diet when people are trying to lose weight. For more, see 5 weight loss benefits that people have experienced with the Mediterranean diet.
Development of Alzheimer’s disease is especially a problem for many people of a certain age. Rich in antioxidants, healthy fats and other nutrients that support the brain, the Mediterranean diet is one that has been shown to be associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Perhaps we can call the Mediterranean diet a youthful pseudo-fountain. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of premature death due to cancer, cardiovascular disease and causes.
Stroke risk can be reduced by simply eating more olive oil, nuts, fruits and vegetables – AKA after the Mediterranean diet. In fact, after evaluating 25 studies, researchers found that greater adherence to following this dietary pattern is associated with a reduced risk of stroke.
Bone health is something that everyone should think about, especially when they are younger and bone mass is being built. While focusing on bone-building nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D is critically important for bone health, following the Mediterranean diet can also provide some benefits, especially for certain specific populations.
One of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet can be so good for bone health is that olive oil is a staple in this pattern. As people who eat a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil every day have been shown to have several markers of bone formation, according to a study published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the inclusion of this healthy fat may be one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet is such a positive bone-building diet.
You can literally nourish your fertility with the foods you choose to eat. For people who have dreams of welcoming a small piece of joy into their lives, supporting their fertility can follow their Mediterranean diet.
Studies show that both men and women attempting to conceive benefit from high adherence to the Mediterranean diet with results such as a higher clinical pregnancy rate and healthier sperm count.
When you “eat for two”, it can reduce the risk of having a baby with asthma, putting on too much weight during pregnancy and giving birth prematurely if you follow the Mediterranean diet. Plus, as the Mediterranean diet encourages the intake of high-fiber foods such as produce and beans, this dietary pattern can also help combat some pregnancy constipation symptoms.
Does this diet sound right to you? Read these 9 things you need to know before starting your Mediterranean diet first!