Mediterranean diet is one of the most preferred diets for a long time. The diet consists of the foods that grow around the Mediterranean Sea. It is well known that people living in Southern Italy, and Greece (Crete most notably) live longer than any other populations in the world. Current research confirms that Cretans and Greeks have 20% less risk for death with coronary artery disease and 1/3 less chances of cancer than in the U.S. Beside this mediterranean diet has been found better than the traditional low fat diet, which is commonly recommended to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. The article explores the benefits of Mediterranean diet over American diet and low fat diet. Health benefits from Mediterranean diet are also presented.
Unlike the typical American diet, the Mediterranean diet is rich in following content that make it a healthy choice for people, as per American Heart Association (AHA):
- Very low in red meat and poultry
- Very high in fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and cereals
- High in fish or shellfish
- Permits low-to-moderate amounts of wine
- Uses olive oil, an important monounsaturated fat (healthy fat) source
- Uses herbs and spices instead of salts to flavor foods
What are the health benefits of Mediterranean diets?
For the past five decades, scientists have been studying the characteristics of the Mediterranean diet and they continue to find health benefits. I am presenting here extract of most of the latest scientific data that leads to the fact that Mediterranean diet is a wise choice to stay healthy.
A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 confirms that healthy people who followed a moderate Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, those who had high adherence to the Mediterranean diet had an 83% relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.
Benefits of Mediterranean diet to your heart:
A study published in Med Sci Monit shows that Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease from 8% to 45%, depending on people’s adherence to the diet.
font-size: 10pt;">According to WebMd, a 2007 study conducted in the United States found that both men and women who consumed a Mediterranean diet lowered their risk of death from both heart disease and cancer.
Lower mortality rate with Mediterranean diet:
A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal showed that people who adhered to Mediterranean diet showed significant reduction in overall mortality rate (9%), mortality from cardiovascular diseases (9%), mortality from cancer (6%), and incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (13%).
Mediterranean diet prevents mental decline conditions:
According to study published in The Archives of Neurology, Mediterranean diet appears to lower risk for mental decline, prevents Alzheimer’s disease in people with existing memory problems.
According to New York Times, people who strictly adhered to Mediterranean diet had 48% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Mediterranean diet provides Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Fish is a big part of many Mediterranean menus, and it’s the best source of Omega-3 oils. Research shows that Omega-3 may help lower blood pressure and protect against rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.
Mediterranean diet vs. low carb and low fat diet:
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 examined the effects of all three diets: low-carb, low-fat, and Mediterranean. The results are as follows:
- Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets are much better than low fat diets.
- The low-carb and Mediterranean diet resulted in the greatest weight loss of 12 lbs and 10 lbs, respectively compared to 7 lbs with low-fat diet.
While I was researching on the mediterranean diet, I was amazed by the endless research performed against various diseases. Some of the studies took more than 18 years to conclude that there are health benefits of mediterranean diet. I hope the research data will provide you better outlook to choose healthy food. Next time when you plan to go to restaurants do think about mediterranean diet, it can be helpful for prevention of major chronic diseases.