You may be following a diet because your doctor recommended it, or because you have a weight loss goal, but for most people the term "diet" is a four-letter word. There are a lot of fad diets out there today that promise to give you results however, most people find that diets come, and go just like the fluctuating number on the scale. If you are looking for a diet that you will actually stick to, the Mediterranean diet offers some of the most health-promoting benefits of any diet plan. Besides the heart-healthy perks of following the Mediterranean diet, you can also enjoy numerous health benefits including more energy, weight loss, and longevity. If you are looking for a diet that you can love - try the health promoting path of the Mediterranean diet!
What is The Mediterranean Diet?
The heart-healthy diet is based around the lifestyle, and eating philosophy of people native to the region around the Mediterranean Sea, Greece, Italy, and Croatia. People follow this diet that includes nuts and fatty fish high in healthy fats, fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy oils (fats) known to promote longevity, and heart health. Essential fatty acids, or EFA's are called “essential” because your body cannot produce them, and so they must be consumed through your diet. Today, most people in the U.S. follow the Standard American Diet, or (SAD) that contributes to fatigue, unwanted weight gain, and other health problems. You may be shocked to find that some of the most common foods included in the SAD are actually toxic. One of the most commonly consumed items of the SAD that is not part of the Mediterranean diet is unhealthy fat. These types of fats include saturated, and hydrogenated fats.
In contrast, many Mediterranean diet foods are loaded with healthy fats. In food preparation people of the Mediterranean use olive oil. Olive oil is one of the most well-known healthy fats however, most people in America do not get enough of this essential nutrient. Doctors, and researchers already know that many of the health benefits are directly linked to the consumption of polyunsaturated fats – a staple of the Mediterranean Diet. Sadly, most Americans fall short of reaching the daily recommended value for omega types of healthy fat. Yes, healthy fats do exist!
5 Benefits of The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is based around a basic food pyramid, with slight modifications that can make BIG changes in your overall health. Making a simple adjustment to the way that you eat, and following the Mediterannean diet could provide these 5 well-known benefits of the typical Grecian lifestyle.
- Energy. Using the Mediterranean diet as your nutritional guide, you may find that your eating philosophy is more aligned with vitality, and longevity. Focusing less on calories, and more on health benefits, a Mediterranean diet may help to support your metabolism, resulting in more energy. Further, by following the nutritional philosophy of the Meditereannean people you may notice fewer feelings of fatigue as it naturally reduces your intake of sugar, and processed foods that contribute to insulin spikes, sugar crashes, and unwanted weight gain.
- Weight Management. Most people do not realize that essential fatty acids are needed for long-term weight management. You see, it is not as simple as you may think to lose weight, or to burn fat. In fact many nutritionists can confirm that this equation (3,500 calories = 1 pound of body fat) does not always equal weight loss. While many people believe that creating a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories nutritionally, or through exercise will cause weight loss, that is not always the case. However, by using the correct balance of essential nutrients your body is able to burn fat even when you are eating the fat every day. There is no need to follow a low-fat diet when you are eating healthy fats at a correct ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids. Able to significantly influence your body’s ability to burn fat, a balance of EFA's is ideal for weight loss. For this reason, a Mediterranean-style diet is shown to support long-term weight management.
- Heart Health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of early death for American men, and women however, the effects of following a Mediterranean diet are clinically shown to promote heart health. In one study on cholesterol and the Mediterranean diet, subjects over the age of 55 with a high cardiovascular risk were shown to improve their cholesterol balance with significant reduction in LDL oxidation. Numerous other trials confirm the ability of a Mediterranean style diet on cardiovascular risk factors. The effects of following the diet have been shown to offer beneficial effects for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol balance, and other factors of cardiovascular function. In summary, researchers confirm the benefits of following the Mediterranean diet for a healthy heart.
- Delicious Diet Foods. When you hear the word “diet,” from your doctor, or another health care specialist you might cringe. The Mediterrenean diet has everything appetizing you could want on a menu including rich healthy fats from seeds, nuts, fish, and olive oil, along with fresh fruits, and vegetables, wine, and a balance of physical activity, social connection, and dieting by limiting red meat, and dairy products. The Mediterrenean diet casually contributes to a reduced risk of heart disease due to the amounts of good fats including EFA's (omegas), along with the occasional glass of red wine, and social dining.
- Longevity. Unlike other food phisophies, the Mediterranean diet includes staple foods of a specific geographic region. Because the Mediterranean sea is the center of this diet, fish is a main dish compared to the poultry on most American’s plates. The amount of fatty fish included in the Mediterranean diet is one of the main reasons for its direct link to a longer life. You see, fish oil is known to provide the essential nutrients from healthy fats known as omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 to support cardiovascular health, immunity, and brain function. One study linked the consumption of delicious nuts with lower coronary heart disease mortality. Nuts are just one of the many good-for-you foods included on the menu for Mediteranean’s making it easy to live a longer, healthier life. If you are able to include just one of their staple foods (nuts) you can enjoy health benefits.
The Mediterranean diet is not considered an elimination diet making it one of the easiest nutritional plans to adopt. Eating in the way of the Meterannean people your meals will naturally include a range of plants, changing your entire approach to food, and your relationship with dining. Including heart-healthy omega-3, and 6 essential fatty acids from olive oil, fish, seeds, and nuts this diet is known to promote heart health, and longevity. The Mediterranean diet also limits red meat, dairy, and sugary, processed foods leaving little room for failure. Bursting with nutrients, color, and flavor the foods of the Mediterrean diet are not only delicious, but they are also a path to long life, and vitality.