The benefits of eating a Mediterranean Diet are numerous and it’s never too late to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is inspired by lifestyle of those who live around the Mediterranean Sea; combining a clean and natural diet with regular exercise and activities. The people of the Mediterranean have been studied by a number of health professionals because of their extended life span and lack of health issues that we typically see here in America.
The Mediterranean Diet embraces these key points:
- Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month and fish is one of the main protein sources
- Fruits and vegetables are the mainstay of this diet with a focus on fresh produce eaten throughout the day, every day
- Salt is basically removed from the diet and replaced with fresh spices and herbs (Himalayan salt is sometimes acceptable because of the health benefits it holds)
- Using healthy oils, especially focusing olive oil, and omitting butter for the most part
- Healthy nuts and seeds are a common option for snacking and also used in many Mediterranean diet recipes
- Beans/legumes and whole grains are eaten daily in a variety of ways from soups to side dishes (Here’s a nice base list for these foods)
- Fish and poultry are eaten at least twice a week with a focus on healthy proteins such as fish, legumes, and chicken
- Breads are often used to create healthy panini sandwiches or as a side, dipped in healthy oils instead of spread with butters/margarine
- Limited sugars and desserts with the main focus often being a simple dessert of nothing but fruit, whole and on its own
- Minimally processed foods and limiting sugars to all natural types of sweeteners such as honey
- Red wine is an optional perk to the Mediterranean diet and offers some health benefits with limited consumption; however, it’s not required in order to follow the diet
The Health Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet
There are many health benefits to following the Mediterranean diet and the American Diabetes Association even recommends the Mediterranean diet as a way of helping control your diabetes.
- Reduces your risk of heart disease & stroke
- Helps to control insulin levels with a 90% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes*
- Reduces your risk of certain cancers
- Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s risk is lowered when following the Mediterranean diet
- Reduces inflammation and diseases that promote inflammation
- Weight control and weight loss
- Helps protect cognitive health and overall mood
One of the benefits of being able to age at home is that you can follow a diet that you prefer, such as the Mediterranean diet, and have someone prepare the right recipes for you.
*Harvard School of Public Health, NCBI Publication, “The Mediterranean Diet: Science & Practice”, February 9 2006
The Mayo Clinic (website: https://www.mayoclinic.org )
American Diabetes Association (website: https://www.diabetes.org/ )
Photo by mmtzphoto at Flickr