Olives, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and a bit of wine. These are the ingredients of a Mediterranean diet, long hailed for being good for the palate as well as good for the heart.
The diet is not low fat – it contains lots of olive oil. However, it is the right kind of fat – monounsaturated fats.
It is not low carb either. Lots of bread and pasta are eaten. But the breads are mainly made from whole grains.
What makes the Mediterranean diet health is because it contains all the nutrients that we need in the right amounts. And couple with regular physical exercise, this diet is the success story of all diets.
Yes, because latest studies show that Mediterranean diet not only heart-friendly, it also has other benefits
Mediterranean diet helps lose weight
This is according to latest studies as reviewed on WebMD. In fact, one of the studies showed that this diet can be more effective in losing extra pounds than low-fat diet.
The funny thing is that the Mediterranean diet wasn’t meant to be a dietary plan for weight loss. For hundreds of years, people in the Mediterranean ate what they ate because it tasted good and because it was their way of life.
According to Dr. Arthur Agatston, cardiologist and creator of the South Beach Diet, which was adapted from the Mediterranean diet model:
“Research continues to demonstrate that being physically active and eating a nutritious diet of primarily whole foods that are filling and satisfying can enable people to control weight, lower blood pressure [and] cholesterol levels, reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease [and] Alzheimer’s disease, and basically protect against chronic diseases.”
Mediterranean diet lower risk for Type 2 diabetes
As usual, when we talk about weight, diabetes is not far behind. This is also true for Mediterranean diet. Here is how, according to Dr. Agatston:
“A Mediterranean diet is high in fiber, which slows down digestion, preventing wild swings in blood sugar; reduces insulin resistance (a precursor of type 2 diabetes); and improves insulin sensitivity to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
Mediterranean diet helps prevent cancer
Cancer, too? Well, according to researchers, diet that is high in fat but low in saturated fats actually reduces not only heart disease but also cancer.
Can vitamin supplements replace Mediterranean diet?
Unfortunately, you cannot bottle this diet or squeeze it into a multivitamin pill. No, this is the real thing and can’t simply be replaced by all the supplements around.
What is more, we have to keep in mind that the diet has to go hand in hand with physical exercise and minimum stress and cannot work when coupled with unhealthy behavior such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol.