Researchers have found that the Mediterranean Diet can help individuals live longer, slimmer, healthier lives free from diseases like: obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. But why is it so darn healthy?

Let’s find out.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating that mimics the way societies along the Mediterranean Sea coastline eat. Being near the sea, the land is especially fertile, and the waters are full of seafood and healthy fatty fish like salmon and sardines. 

Generally speaking, the Mediterranean Diet features lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, legumes, and olive oil, and eschews red meat and dairy for the most part. Dairy takes the form, chiefly, of full fat Greek yogurt.

They also drink some red wine in the Mediterranean, and since grape skins contain specific phytonutrients called resveratrol, scientists believe this is one reason red wine (in moderation) can offer health benefits.  Keep in mind, if you're dealing with a health issue, drinking alcohol can also suppress bodily functions and may not be best for you.

How healthy is eating the Mediterranean diet? 

* Researchers have found that people who eat a Mediterranean Diet are 30% less likely to suffer heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events. 

* In studies, researchers have learned that women who follow a Mediterranean Diet have a lower body mass index (BMI) and narrower waists than women who don’t follow this diet. 

* Researchers have found that those who follow a Mediterranean Diet are less likely to suffer from dementia, depression, and cognitive decline and that the brains of Mediterranean eaters are basically five years younger than those who don’t follow the diet.

So, how can we eat the "Mediterranean way?"

Eat fatty fish - and eat this kind of fish about 2 times per week. Being so close to the sea, people in the Mediterranean eat more fish, especially fatty fish. Eating fatty fish helps protect the eyes, the mind, and the heart.

Eat 7 to 8 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Researchers have found that people who follow diets of mostly plants live longer, healthier lives.

Embrace nuts - especially walnuts. Researchers have found that walnuts, for example, promote healthy gut bacteria that helps prevent heart disease.

Use a modest amount of olive oil every chance you get. And stay away from industrial seed oils (canola, corn, safflower, etcetera) altogether. 

Eat more beans and legumes instead of meat! Again, plants are profoundly healthy for our health!

Embrace whole grains and experiment with new ones. Popular grains in the Mediterranean include barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, millet, whole grain oats, polenta, and brown rice.

Eat very little red meat and forgo processed meats altogether. Studies have connected red meat, processed meats, and cancer.

Limit dairy and eat more full fat Greek yogurt. And if you’re going to eat dairy, think “organic and grass fed” only! 

Special note: Especially living in our "modern" world, it's a good idea to eat organic, locally grown food (as much as possible).  This way you will avoid putting too many chemicals inside your body.

 

Sources for this article include: 


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JAMA.com

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