The mediterranean diet – A beginner’s guide

The Mediterranean diet is a healthful eating pattern long celebrated for its benefits.

Research has declared this eating plan a certain type of heart-healthy diet packed with plenty of other health benefits.

Unsurprisingly, you might be interested in uncovering what this eating pattern entails; the following guide will reveal everything you need to know.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan based on the traditional cuisines of Mediterranean countries such as Spain, France, and Greece. Large consumption of fresh vegetables and moderate protein intake is the basic idea of this diet plan.

There are no strict rules to follow this diet, so you can add poultry and seafood in moderation.

Research indicates that this diet plan reduces mortality, thus ensuring longevity.

Health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

People have been eating a Mediterranean diet for thousands of years.

Starting in the 1960s and 1970s, scientists began studying this diet to determine its benefits.

Years later, research shows that this diet plan has many health benefits. 

Reduce the risk of heart problems

The Mediterranean diet is widely known for reducing the risk of heart problems.

The fats in olive oil reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). This helps reduce the cholesterol accumulation in the blood vessels, thus preventing heart diseases.

According to British Heart Foundation, following this diet plan reduces the chances of a second heart attack.

Another study indicates that the Mediterranean diet can help lower blood pressure, thus supporting heart health.

Prevents diabetes.

Another health benefit of this diet plan is it can help prevent diabetes.

A Mediterranean diet plan is rich in nutrients that can stabilize your blood glucose levels for a long-time. Moreover, eating fruits and vegetables prevent insulin spike, thus helping manage blood glucose level.

Evidence also shows that adherence to this diet plan decreases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus by more than 80%.

keeps your metabolic functions active

Since the Mediterranean diet comprises vegetables, nuts, and fruits rich in antioxidants, it helps protect the body from damage from harmful chemicals.

The antioxidants obtained from vegetables and fruits shield the body’s cells against free radicals that reduce the signs of ageing.

Not only this, but this diet plan also protects the muscles from damage, thus helping you stay physically active.

Evidence also suggests that the Mediterranean diet is rich in beneficial nutrients that promote muscle strength, eventually leading to higher agility.

Minimize the risk of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes sudden involuntary limb movements such as tremors, muscle stiffness, and impaired balance. Thankfully, following a Mediterranean diet can help minimize the risk of this disease.

According to a study, people who strictly follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop sudden limb movements than those who eat unhealthy foods.

This is because this diet includes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and small amounts of protein.

Experts suggest that eating protein can decrease the effectiveness of the medicines for Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, the consumption of fresh foods in this diet can help increase the efficiency of the treatment.

Helps in weight loss.

The Mediterranean diet is an efficient source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.

According to the research, fibre slows gastric emptying and increases satiety levels, leading to weight loss. The foods in this diet also improve gut health that improves digestion.

Another study shows that adherence to this type of diet can help prevent weight gain and abdominal obesity.

Foods to eat and avoid in a  Mediterranean diet

It is generally believed that this eating plan is largely based on green foods. Some people, however, also eat fish and poultry while following this diet.

The widely accepted foods you can add:

  • Fresh vegetables such as broccoli
  • Fresh fruits such as strawberries, apples, and bananas
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Poultry and dairy
  • Fish and seafood
  • Healthy oils such as olive oil and avocado oil

The foods you should avoid:

  • Sugary foods such as sodas, syrups, and baked foods
  • Refined carbs
  • Refined oil such as canola oil and soybean oil
  • Processed foods

The Bottom Line

The concept of the Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional cuisines of countries such as Italy, France, and Greece.

The Mediterranean diet is largely based on fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and poultry and should avoid foods such as added sugars, refined carbs, and processed foods.

This diet plan has several health benefits, such as preventing heart problems, keeping you physically active, and aiding weight loss.

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