8 Powerful Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet | 2023

8 Powerful Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has been proven to be one of the world’s healthiest diets. In moderation, it contains plant-based meals, complete grains, and healthy fats. In fact, according to the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet to our Overall Health, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet No. 1 on their 2021 41 Best Diets Overall list. Let’s take a look at the top eight benefits you’ll receive in return for it.

What is a “Mediterranean diet?”

Pizza and spaghetti from Italy or lamb chops from Greece may come to mind when you think of Mediterranean food, but these foods do not fall into the healthy dietary programs promoted as “Mediterranean.” A classic Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seafood, olive oil, and dairy, as well as a glass or two of red wine.

That’s how the people of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy ate in the 1960s when chronic illness rates were among the lowest in the world and life expectancy was among the greatest, despite scant medical assistance.

And a true Mediterranean diet entails more than just eating healthy, fresh foods. Physical activity daily and eating meals with people are essential components. They may have a significant impact on your mood and mental health when used together, as well as help you develop a deep appreciation for the delights of eating nutritious and delicious meals.

Of course, adopting dietary adjustments isn’t always simple, especially if you’re attempting to get away from processed and takeaway meals. However, the Mediterranean diet may be both affordable and tasty, as well as incredibly healthful. It may take some work to move from pepperoni and spaghetti to fish and avocados, but you might soon be on your way to a healthier and longer life.

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1. Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for Heart Disease

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Various studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet is excellent for your heart, according to a meta-analysis published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in November 2015. (1)

By far the most convincing data comes from the PREDIMED research, a randomized clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2013. (2) The scientists monitored 7,000 women and men in Spain with type 2 diabetes or a high risk of cardiovascular disease for around five years. Those who followed a calorie-free Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil or almonds had a 30% decreased risk of heart disease. The individuals were not advised to exercise by the researchers.

The researchers reanalyzed the data for a long time to resolve a widely criticized weakness in the randomization technique and published comparable findings in the New England Journal of Medicine in June 2018. (3)

2. Eating a Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Women’s Risk for Stroke

The PREDIMED study has shown that eating in a Mediterranean style can help lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease in some persons. According to a cohort study published in the journal Stroke in September 2018, the diet may also help lower stroke risk in women, while researchers did not see the same findings in males. (4)

Researchers examined a mostly white group of 23,232 men and women aged 40 to 77 living in the United Kingdom. The closer women adhered to the Mediterranean diet, the reduced their risk of suffering a stroke. Men, on the other hand, did not show statistically significant results, according to the study. Most importantly, following the diet lowered the risks of having a stroke by 20% among women who were at high risk of having one.

3. A Mediterranean Diet May Prevent Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease

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A review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition in July 2016 examined the effect of the Mediterranean diet on cognitive function and concluded that “there is encouraging evidence that adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with improving cognition, slowing cognitive decline, or reducing the conversion to Alzheimer’s disease.” (5)

Furthermore, small research funded by the National Institute on Aging and published in the journal Neurology in May 2018 looked at brain scans for 70 persons who had no evidence of dementia at the start and graded them based on how well their eating patterns matched the Mediterranean pattern. At the end of the trial, those who scored low had more beta-amyloid deposits and used less energy in the brain. All of this is to say that additional study is needed before adopting this dietary strategy to reduce Alzheimer’s risk. For the time being, Dr. Fargo recognizes the Mediterranean diet as one method of eating that can aid in the prevention of cognitive deterioration.

However, he does not always advocate it above other well-studied diets, such as the MIND diet, which is a mix of the Mediterranean pattern and the blood-pressure-lowering DASH diet, according to a September 2015 paper published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia. «The Alzheimer’s Association advocates a heart-healthy dietary pattern,» he explains.

4. The Mediterranean Diet May Help With Weight Loss and Maintenance

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The Mediterranean diet may help you lose weight in a healthy and lasting way, owing to its emphasis on whole, fresh foods, but if you’re hoping for quick results, you may be better off with a different diet plan. Despite ranking first in its Best Diets Overall category, the diet tied for 17th place among the website’s Best Weight Loss Diets. Those who added nuts dropped 0.4 kg on average, whereas those who followed a low-fat diet lost 0.6 kg. When calorie restriction is included, the Mediterranean diet may provide more dramatic benefits, albeit it does not always outperform another common diet plan.

Women on the Mediterranean diet ate a limit of 1,500 calories per day, while men ate a maximum of 1,800 calories per day, intending to get no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat. The calorie constraints for individuals on the low-fat diet were the same. The Mediterranean-diet group lost 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs), the low-fat group 2.9 kg (6.4 lbs), and the low-carbohydrate group 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs).

5. Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for Type 2 Diabetes

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A Mediterranean diet may be the way to go for type 2 diabetes management and maybe prevention.

Using PREDIMED research participants, researchers randomized a sample of 418 adults aged 55 to 80 who did not have diabetes and then followed up with them after four years to determine if they had got the condition. The findings were reported in Diabetes Care. (6) Those who followed the Mediterranean diet, whether supplementing with olive oil or nuts, had a 52 percent decreased risk of type 2 diabetes over the four-year follow-up, despite not losing weight or exercising more.

Furthermore, a meta-analysis of 20 randomized clinical trials published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January 2013 discovered that the Mediterranean diet improved blood sugar control more than the low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic index, and high-protein diets in people with type 2 diabetes. (7) This study implies that following a Mediterranean diet may be an effective method to help prevent type 2 diabetes-related health problems.

6. People With Rheumatoid Arthritis May Benefit From the Mediterranean Diet

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune illness in which the body’s immune system assaults the joints by mistake, causing pain and swelling in and around them. (8) Certain characteristics of the Mediterranean diet, such as its high concentration of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, may aid in the relief of RA symptoms.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, preliminary evidence shows that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish) may help relieve RA symptoms in addition to medicine, however additional study is needed. (9,10)

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7. Mediterranean diet meal plan may help prevent certain types of cancer.

A meta-analysis and review of 83 papers published in the journal Nutrients in October 2017 revealed that the Mediterranean diet may help lower the risk of malignancies including breast cancer and colorectal cancer, as well as assist avoid cancer-related mortality. (11) “These observed favorable benefits are mostly driven by increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” the scientists concluded.

Based on PREDIMED data, second research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in October 2015 revealed that women who ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil had a 62 percent reduced risk of breast cancer than those in the control group who ate a low-fat diet. (12)

8. Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for Ease Depression

According to a review of 41 observational studies published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in September 2018, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a decreased incidence of depression. (13) An analysis of pooled data from four longitudinal studies indicated that the diet was related to a 33% lower incidence of depression when compared to a “pro-inflammatory diet” (richer in processed meats, sugar, and trans fats) that is more typical of a conventional American diet.

While the study did not explain why a Mediterranean diet reduced depression risk, the study authors concluded that their findings might serve as a starting point for developing and researching diet-based therapies for depression.

The Importance of Moderation in the Mediterranean Diet

It’s apparent that there’s lots of evidence that a Mediterranean diet may be healthy, but Carson advises that it’s crucial to control your quantities and avoid bad foods if you want to enjoy all of the advantages. Keep in mind that the USDA’s recommended daily calorie consumption for an adult ranges from 1,600 to 3,200, depending on age, gender, and amount of physical activity. (14)

The Bottom line

The Mediterranean diet not only will help you achieve dynamic weight loss, but it will also give great benefits in certain medical conditions.

This diet rose to prominence since individuals from the Mediterranean region show a very low rate of heart disease, chronic disease, and obesity.

It is very well balanced, easy to follow, and does not require us to give up foods we love! Quite the contrary, the Mediterranean diet allows you to consume foods you love, helping to maintain the correct calories and macros intake.

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