The Mediterranean diet is continually touted by nutrition experts for its many health benefits and ease of use. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and prolong life.
Advocates of the Mediterranean diet, named the best holistic diet five years in a row by U.S. News & World Report, say it resembles a lifestyle. In addition to making healthier food choices, it emphasizes the joy of eating and exercising with loved ones. For them, it’s all about living in moderation, including alcohol consumption.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil. It also recommends eating seafood several times a week and minimizing red meat.No calorie counting required.
In 2022, the Mediterranean diet was also named Best Healthy Eating, Best for Preventing Diabetes, and Best Plant-Based Diet by US News.
If your New Year’s resolutions include eating healthier, here’s what you need to know about adopting this diet.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Studies show that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, memory loss, depression, breast cancer, and strengthens the heart and bones. However, one of the most studied benefits of the Mediterranean diet is reducing the risk of heart disease.
In one study, researchers gave 7,000 people at high risk for type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease guidance on a Mediterranean diet but did not tell them to restrict calories. Those who supplemented their diet with mixed nuts were 30% less likely to suffer a cardiovascular event during the five-year follow-up period compared to controls.
The Mediterranean diet also appears to improve cognition and may reduce the risk of dementia, although more research is needed to confirm this. People who didn’t do well had more beta-amyloid deposits (protein plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease) and less energy usage in the brain.
Another study of 10,670 women between the ages of 57 and 61 found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet did not develop chronic diseases or suffer significant declines in mental or physical functioning. They found they were 46% more likely to age healthily, defined as living to age 70.
Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet improves glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes better than other diets.
Studies have shown that women who follow a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy are less likely to develop pre-eclampsia. Their risk was reduced by more than 20% from hers, according to a Johns Hopkins study. Black women at high risk of pre-eclampsia had the lowest risk.
A recent study also found that eating a Mediterranean diet may improve fertility and increase the chances of successful assisted reproductive treatments. It has been found to improve the regularity of the menstrual cycle, embryo quality, live birth rate in women, and sperm quality in men.
Other researchers have attempted to tweak the Mediterranean diet and found that a greener version may even be healthier. It emphasizes polyphenol-rich foods such as polyphenols, and eliminates red and processed meat completely. fat around organs) decreased by 14% in 18 months. Too much visceral fat increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
A green Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels, diastolic blood pressure and inflammatory markers more than a conventional diet.
Researchers continue to explore the potential wide-ranging benefits of following the Mediterranean diet. However, larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.
how to get started
According to nutritionists, the key to a Mediterranean eating style is choosing fresh, whole foods whenever possible. This means avoiding foods such as white bread, processed meats, candy, and soda.
There are some small steps people can take to get started. Stock your kitchen with foods like spinach, potatoes, beans, salmon, milk, Greek yogurt, oats, olives, peaches, hummus, nuts, herbs, spices like cinnamon, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and even dark chocolate. increase. Cook with olive oil and try adding one seafood dish to your weekly menu. And to avoid the temptation to eat junk food, keep healthy, filling snacks on hand.EatingWell has a full pantry ingredient list.
Nutritionists recommend filling at least 75% of your diet with plant foods, especially vegetables. The remaining 25% should be focused on healthy fats or lean proteins. Try to eat vegetables and fruits at every meal.
Experts from Women’s Health Magazine, CookingLight, and Healthline offer some easy meal combinations to help people get started.
Scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes
• Steel cut oats with warm berry compote
• Sautéed eggs and vegetables served with whole wheat toast
• Grilled fish, brown rice, grilled zucchini, paprika, red onion
• Chicken and cucumber salad with parsley paste
• Tuna salad with vegetables and olive oil, fruit salad
• Lentil Soup with Celery, Carrots, Onions, Tomatoes and Mushrooms
• Grilled salmon with avocado salsa
• Seared Mediterranean tuna steak
• Carrot hummus with cumin and almonds, served with fresh vegetables
• boiled egg, salt and pepper
• Apple slices with almond butter