Mediterranean regions of the world that cover parts of Italy, Spain and Greece have for long subsisted on a diet based on the vegetation that grows in those areas. These countries have an abundance of fruits and vegetables, many varieties of healthy nuts, large schools of fish in their blue seas and olive oil. Plenty of olive oil. While our Mediterranean ancestors might not have set out looking for a diet that would keep them extra healthy, studies have found it to be vastly superior to many other kinds of diets in the world. Here are the amazing health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet.
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1. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
High cholesterol foods and trans fats are the ultimate enemy of a healthy heart. Fortunately, a Mediterranean diet is completely free of them and instead, consists of many heart-friendly foods. Omega-3 and other sources of healthy fats are abundant in this fish and nut heavy diet. Olive oil (which is liberally drizzled on everything) also contains alpha-linoleic acids which has been shown to drastically reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Mediterranean diets aren’t afraid of a little fat and these good fats lower your blood pressure and keep your arteries healthy.
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2. Helps You Fight Cancer
A Mediterranean diet appears to be fully engineered toward protecting you from cancer. It contains a huge variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, each with their own powerful brand of antioxidants. These antioxidants coupled with healthy fats fight free radicals, prevent oxidative damage, keep your cells healthy and lower their risk of mutating into dangerous cancer cells. Studies have also shown that olive oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the risk for colon cancer.
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3. Increases Your Longevity
If you still harbor the illusion that all fats are bad, then think again. Here’s a list of different kinds of fat, ranging from ‘most healthy’ to ‘will probably give you a heart attack in your sleep’: monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat and trans fat. To keep your body fighting fit into your 90s, you’re going to need plenty of monounsaturated fats and as little trans fats as you can manage. The fat sources in a Mediterranean diet are almost entirely monounsaturated fats. These fats keep your brain sharp, fight inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. So go ahead and dress your fresh salads with some olive oil completely guilt-free.
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4. It Helps You Lose Weight
One of the main reasons for weight gain from modern diets is the over-dependence on refined sugars, carbs and highly processed foods. A Mediterranean diet on the other hand, helps us go back to more natural and wholesome ways of consuming foods. The diet places emphasis on whole grains which contain more fiber and have a low glycemic index. There is also no room for processed foods as this diet puts great importance on fresh vegetables and fruits. There is also a high protein content thanks to the abundance of seafood. This diet will fill you up and keep you satiated, but won’t raise your calorie intake by very much.
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5. Helps You Live With Diabetes
One of the most negative outcomes of an unhealthy modern diet, is the huge increase in the number of people suffering from chronic type-2 diabetes. Drinking large quantities of sugary sodas and eating processed foods creates high levels of sugar in your blood which your body can’t handle. But Mediterranean diets get their sugar from fruits and the occasional glass of red wine. These aren’t simple sugars and so your body takes longer to break them down. This prevents large quantities of sugar from being suddenly dumped into your bloodstream and harming your body.
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6. Helps You Unwind And Relax
Mediterranean diets are more than just what you choose to put on your plate, it’s a lifestyle choice. Deciding to take inspiration from Mediterranean lifestyles means you will also be walking more and lessening your dependence on other means of transport. It also means that you have large weekly meals with your friends and family where everyone can catch up and bond. This helps create a strong support system for you and improves your mental well-being. Surrounding yourself with people you love can fill you with positivity and keep you healthy from the inside out.