The Mediterranean diet is renowned for being one of the healthiest in the world, and it’s not hard to understand why: the diet is packed with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish.
In fact, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, along with physical activity and not smoking, over 80 percent of coronary heart disease, 70 percent of stroke, and 90 percent of type 2 diabetes can be avoided by a Mediterranean-inspired diet.
To adopt a Mediterranean-style diet, one should base every meal around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes (such as lentils and beans), seeds, herbs, and spices; eat fish at least twice a week; eat moderate portions of cheese and yogurt every day or every week; eat moderate portions of poultry and eggs every two days or once a week; eat red meat sparingly or limit your portions to three ounces; drink lots of water and drink wine in moderation.
Read on to learn more about three specific health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
- Reduces risk of heart disease
Following a traditional Mediterranean diet, and making sure you get lots of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 foods in particular, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies have found that a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of cardiac death by 30 percent and sudden cardiac death by 45 percent.
The Mediterranean diet’s heavy reliance on olive oil is especially influential. A study from the Warwick Medical School found that compared to sunflower oil, olive oil decreases blood pressure by much higher amounts. Olive oil also helps limit hypertension and combat the disease-inducing effects of oxidation.
- Helps prevent cancer
According to the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, along with high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols found in fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and wine have a positive impact on cancer prevention.
A plant-based diet, like the Mediterranean diet, provides antioxidants, protects DNA from damage, stops cell mutation, lowers inflammation, and delays tumor growth.
- Fights diabetes
Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet has anti-inflammatory capabilities, which could aid in fighting metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. It may help in preventing diabetes
These are just three of the health benefits of Mediterranean food; there are many more ways that this diet can positively impact your health. Consider trying out elements of a Mediterranean diet—not only is it healthy, but it’s also super delicious! Got a craving? Swing by one of our restaurants across Southern California.