For quite some time, the Mediterranean diet has maintained its popularity all over the world. One reason is due to the numerous perks you can get by following this meal plan. But, what are the eating habits involve in this regimen? Aside from that, what are the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet?
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Basically, the Mediterranean diet has no specific meal plan because of the cultural differences of the countries in this region. However, this regimen emphasizes the following eating habits:
- Eating a lot of plant-based products such as veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains
- Using healthy fats like olive oil instead of butter
- Enhancing a meal’s flavor with herbs and spices
- Avoiding or eating less red meat
- Eating less sugary, saturated fats, and highly processed foods
- Sipping a glass or two of red wine (optional)
- Enjoying mealtimes with loved ones
The Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
1. Prevents Heart Problems
One of the most well-known health benefits of the Mediterranean diet is its ability to promote a healthy heart. This effect is due to the various food products included in this meal plan.
Take olive oil as an example. This healthy fat is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty substance that can help decrease your risk of cardiac death. Moreover, consuming extra-virgin olive oil regularly may also help maintain a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Aside from olive oil, the Mediterranean diet includes numerous heart-friendly foods such as nuts, veggies, and whole grains. Despite its alcohol contents, red wine is another excellent product for your heart, especially if consumed in moderation.
2. Reduces Acne and Other Skin Problems
In addition to a strong heart, the Mediterranean diet also promotes a healthy skin. This benefit is primarily due to the various anti-inflammatory foods in this regimen.
As you know, inflammation can cause various skin problems such as acne, eczema, and dermatitis. But, that’s not all. Inflammation may also release enzymes that can break down collagen and elastin, resulting in premature aging. Because of these negative effects, the highly recommended diet hacks for radiant skin is to consume healthy fats and avoid refined products- eating habits encouraged in the Mediterranean diet.
3. Prevents Diabetes
Another great perk in this list of health benefits of the Mediterranean diet is preventing diabetes. As you know, a lot of people are at risk of developing diabetes because of our fondness for simple carbohydrates like pasta, white bread, and sugary products. Fortunately, you can do various healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise to prevent or manage diabetes. Another good option is to try the Mediterranean diet.
Although most people living in the Mediterranean region frequently eat small portions of pasta and bread, most of them have an active lifestyle, which can prevent insulin resistance. Furthermore, most plant-based products specifically whole grains are rich in fiber, a substance that can help balance your blood sugar levels. Lastly, the healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods in this diet plan can also help prevent or manage diabetes.
4. Boost Your Mood and Brain Function
Aside from antioxidants, healthy fats are also essential nutrients for optimum brain health. For this reason, health experts recommend including foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your daily meals. Thankfully, the Mediterranean diet is rich in these kinds of products. If you prefer a plant-based diet, the best sources of beneficial fats are nuts, seeds, legumes, and olive oil.
An added benefit is that most of the products in this regimen can uplift your mood and energy due to the various essential nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and vitamin B.
5. Help You Achieve Your Ideal Weight
Aside from those mentioned health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, this meal plan can also help you achieve or maintain your ideal weight.
As you know, most weight loss programs recommend eating more plant-based foods, avoiding products with empty calories (highly processed products), and exercising regularly .¨ common practices in the Mediterranean lifestyle. But, there’s more. Various substances included in this regimen can also increase your satiety and reduce food cravings such as the healthy fats in olive oil, proteins in legumes, and fiber in whole grains. By including these foods in your diet, you can lower your total calorie intake without feeling tired all the time.