You’ve probably heard that the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world, but what does science say about its potential benefits? Decades of research have shown that following a Mediterranean diet can help us live longer and healthier lives. If you’re wondering why, read on.
Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional cuisines of Italy, Greece and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is primarily a plant-based method that prefers an animal protein includes fish and seafood. The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts, herbs and spices. It also encourages moderate red wine consumption and reduced consumption of processed foods.
Here, we’ve rounded up seven science-backed benefits of the Mediterranean diet. And if you decide to try this diet after reading this article, be sure to check out ours Easy Mediterranean Diet Plan useful tips and advice.
1. It can help you live longer
The Mediterranean diet may be one of the keys to centenarian longevity and slower aging. A lot studies (opens in a new tab) showed that elderly people who follow this diet tend to live longer.
There is also evidence that following a Mediterranean diet can help seniors maintain strength and mobility. Frailty is a syndrome in which the effects of natural aging are combined with the consequences of many chronic diseases and the loss of physical condition. This can greatly affect the quality of life in old age. And according to a meta-analysis published in Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging (opens in a new tab)higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of frailty.
2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
The most widely known benefit of the Mediterranean diet—and the most studied—is its effects on cardiovascular health. This can be attributed in part to its effects on the endothelium: the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels. Based on the review published Journal of Nutrition (opens in a new tab)Mediterranean diets help improve endothelial function, which in turn prevents cholesterol plaques from building up in the arteries.
Multiple studies (opens in a new tab) showed that such a dietary pattern can be especially protective against coronary heart disease and stroke. Also is proof (opens in a new tab) that it can reduce our risk of heart failure.
3. May prevent cognitive decline and dementia
Better brain health in old age is another potential benefit of the Mediterranean diet. A lot studies (opens in a new tab) showed how this dietary pattern may contribute to better cognitive function and lower risk of cognitive decline in healthy older adults. In addition, there is compelling evidence that the Mediterranean diet can help prevent it Alzheimer’s diseaseas described Journal of Clinical Medicine (opens in a new tab). In Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal proteins called amyloids form plaques that disrupt the connections between neurons. That is why they are used as biomarkers for this serious condition.
4. Helps in weight loss
The Mediterranean diet is not only healthy, but it can also help you lose weight. A calorie deficit is the most important principle of weight maintenance, and the Mediterranean diet naturally includes many low-calorie foods.
in 2020 The PREDIMED-Plus study (opens in a new tab) followed 6,355 overweight participants on their weight loss journey. The researchers found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet the most also recorded the best weight loss results. There is also emerging evidence that this eating pattern can be an excellent strategy for maintaining body weight. According to a study published British Journal of Nutrition (opens in a new tab), higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with twice the likelihood of long-term weight maintenance. If you want to try it yourself, be sure to check out our guide Mediterranean diet for weight loss.
5. May prevent type 2 diabetes
One of the lesser-known benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it can help with prevention and management Type 2 diabetes. As described Nutrients (opens in a new tab) journal, there are several ways this dietary pattern can improve blood glucose levels, including its high levels of anti-inflammatory substances. antioxidantslow glycemic index (GI) foods and better gut health. According to a meta-analysis published Advances in nutrition (opens in a new tab) journal, even a modest Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
6. May protect against cancer
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in a new tab), nearly one in 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer is also the second leading cause of death in the United States today. Although there are many types of cancer and many contributing factors, a healthy diet continues to be a key prevention strategy. Many studies show that the Mediterranean diet is the way to prevent these serious diseases.
Based on the review published European Journal of Nutrition (opens in a new tab), higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer. It also greatly reduces the risk of colorectal, head, neck, respiratory, stomach, liver and bladder cancers.
7. May help with rheumatoid arthritis
The Mediterranean diet can also benefit those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition characterized by severe joint pain and stiffness for which there is no cure.
One of the main features of this disease is a high level of eicosanoids, compounds that promote inflammation. Multiple studies (opens in a new tab) showed that anti-inflammatory diets, including plant-based and Mediterranean dietary patterns, are effective in reducing eicosanoid production and associated joint pain. According to scientists from Rheumatology International (opens in a new tab) journal, the Mediterranean diet may also help improve physical function in people with the disease.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.