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What Are The Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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What are the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet? Research has shown that the diet is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, and it supports healthy blood sugar levels. The Mediterranean diet is based on foods that people ate in countries near the Mediterranean sea such as France, Spain, Greece, Italy.

The diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and heart healthy fats. Some of the restrictions dietary wise are processed foods, added sugars, and refined grains. Research studies have shown that Mediterranean diet can promote weight loss, help, and prevent heart attacks, reduce strokes, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, etc.

What are the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet? iStock-newannyart

There have been research studies that have shown that the Mediterranean diet can help lower blood pressure levels to support heart health. Several studies have also shown that the Mediterranean diet can help with improving brain health.

There was a study on 512 people that found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet had improved memory and reductions in several risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Other research studies have shown that it can lower the risk of dementia, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods you can eat on the Mediterranean Diet:

  • Vegetables– broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, brussels sprouts, etc.
  • Fruits– banana, apples, strawberries, grapes, peaches, etc.
  • Nuts– almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
  • Legumes-beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
  • Whole Grains-oats, brown rice, barley, whole wheat bread, pasta, rye, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood– salmon, tuna, shrimp, trout, sardines, etc.
  • Dairy– cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.
  • Healthy Fats– avocados, avocado oil, olives, etc.

Foods You Can’t Eat On The Mediterranean Diet:

  • Trans Fats- margarine, fried foods, etc.
  • Added Fats- ice cream, table sugar, candies, baked goods, etc.
  • Processed Meats-hot dogs, beef jerky, etc.
  • Refined Oils-canola oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, etc.
  • Highly Processed Foods- Granola bars, microwave popcorn, fast food, etc.

Beverages

Water is a suitable beverage to drink on the Mediterranean Diet. If you do drink wine, then one glass a day is considered ok and within the moderation limits. Coffee and tea are perfectly ok on this diet too. But sweetened sodas or beverages that have added sugars should be minimal in consumption. Eating whole fruits is a better alternative than drinking fruit juice because of its fiber intake.

“Research studies have shown that Mediterranean diet can promote weight loss, help, and prevent heart attacks, reduce strokes, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, etc.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is the Mediterranean Diet is a healthy dietary pattern that focuses on healthy plant foods and low animal foods.

And its focus is on fish and seafood dietary foods. The health benefits of this eating pattern are regulating blood sugar, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, and improving brain function.

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References

  1. Ballarini T, Melo van Lent D, Brunner J, Schröder A, Wolfsgruber S, Altenstein S, Brosseron F, Buerger K, Dechent P, Dobisch L, Duzel E, Ertl-Wagner B, Fliessbach K, Freiesleben SD, Frommann I, Glanz W, Hauser D, Haynes JD, Heneka MT, Janowitz D, Kilimann I, Laske C, Maier F, Metzger CD, Munk M, Perneczky R, Peters O, Priller J, Ramirez A, Rauchmann B, Roy N, Scheffler K, Schneider A, Spottke A, Spruth EJ, Teipel SJ, Vukovich R, Wiltfang J, Jessen F, Wagner M; DELCODE study group. Mediterranean Diet, Alzheimer Disease Biomarkers and Brain Atrophy in Old Age. Neurology. 2021 May 5;96(24):e2920–32. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012067. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33952652; PMCID: PMC8253566.
  2. Petersson SD, Philippou E. Mediterranean Diet, Cognitive Function, and Dementia: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2016 Sep 15;7(5):889-904. doi: 10.3945/an.116.012138. PMID: 27633105; PMCID: PMC5015034.
  3. Loughrey DG, Lavecchia S, Brennan S, Lawlor BA, Kelly ME. The Impact of the Mediterranean Diet on the Cognitive Functioning of Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Adv Nutr. 2017 Jul 14;8(4):571-586. doi: 10.3945/an.117.015495. PMID: 28710144; PMCID: PMC5502874.
  4. Sleiman D, Al-Badri MR, Azar ST. Effect of mediterranean diet in diabetes control and cardiovascular risk modification: a systematic review. Front Public Health. 2015 Apr 28;3:69. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00069. PMID: 25973415; PMCID: PMC4411995.
  5. Martín-Peláez S, Fito M, Castaner O. Mediterranean Diet Effects on Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, Disease Progression, and Related Mechanisms. A Review. Nutrients. 2020 Jul 27;12(8):2236. doi: 10.3390/nu12082236. PMID: 32726990; PMCID: PMC7468821.
  6. Nissensohn M, Román-Viñas B, Sánchez-Villegas A, Piscopo S, Serra-Majem L. The Effect of the Mediterranean Diet on Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2016 Jan;48(1):42-53.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2015.08.023. Epub 2015 Oct 21. PMID: 26483006.
  7. Martínez-González MA, Gea A, Ruiz-Canela M. The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health. Circ Res. 2019 Mar;124(5):779-798. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313348. PMID: 30817261.
  8. Tosti V, Bertozzi B, Fontana L. Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: Metabolic and Molecular Mechanisms. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Mar 2;73(3):318-326. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx227. PMID: 29244059; PMCID: PMC7190876.
  9. Davis C, Bryan J, Hodgson J, Murphy K. Definition of the Mediterranean Diet; a Literature Review. Nutrients. 2015 Nov 5;7(11):9139-53. doi: 10.3390/nu7115459. PMID: 26556369; PMCID: PMC4663587.
  10. Lăcătușu CM, Grigorescu ED, Floria M, Onofriescu A, Mihai BM. The Mediterranean Diet: From an Environment-Driven Food Culture to an Emerging Medical Prescription. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 15;16(6):942. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16060942. PMID: 30875998; PMCID: PMC6466433.

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