The diet that people around the Mediterranean enjoy every day is far more than a simple culinary preference. Their eating patterns have proven to enhance their health and improve their lives in noticeable ways.
In recent years, research has uncovered numerous health benefits of the Mediterranean diet that you can enjoy with a few simple adjustments to your daily food intake. Here are some of the major ways in which Mediterranean food staples can enrich your health and
Fights Free Radicals
One of the main characteristics of the Mediterranean diet that makes it such a powerful advocate of health is that it is rich in antioxidants. Many of the foods in the diet contain these immune-boosting chemicals, which fight to limit or stop the damage caused by free radicals. Over time, free radicals can damage cells and lead to aging (1). You are exposed to a number of contaminants in the atmosphere every day that can foster the growth of free radicals in your body, making antioxidants an essential component of your diet. Antioxidant-rich foods that play an important role in the Mediterranean diet include spinach, berries, nuts, tomatoes, fish, and olive oil.
Helps Lower Cholesterol
The foods that define the Mediterranean diet may also lower LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol, which is commonly referred to as “good” cholesterol (2). These benefits are primarily found in the healthy fats of Mediterranean foods, namely omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are found in foods such as salmon, olive oil, nuts, eggs, and Greek yogurt, which are all central elements of the Mediterranean diet. In addition to lowering cholesterol, food items that are rich in omega-3s can reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular function, which may decrease the risk of early death.
Improves Brain Health
Mediterranean foods carry many benefits for the brain as well. The high levels of antioxidants and omega-3s that go along with the diet are particularly essential for a healthy brain. Omega-3 fats that are found in fish play a crucial role in preventing certain types of cognitive decline from developing in old age, such as Alzheimer’s disease (3). By including fish products like salmon and sardines into your diet as the people of the Mediterranean do, you can significantly boost the health of your brain.
Keeps Your Gut Healthy
You can thank the probiotic-rich foods of the Mediterranean diet for providing an increase in gut health. Probiotics, which include what is known as “good bacteria,” do the critical job of facilitating digestion, enhancing immune system function, and helping to maintain a healthy weight (4). The benefits of probiotics also help to keep certain digestive illnesses at bay, such as diarrhea. Mediterranean food items that provide you with a healthy dose of probiotics include Greek yogurt, olives, garlic, and feta cheese.
Boosts Mood and Mental Health
Because of all the physical health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, your mental health is naturally improved when you follow this eating pattern. The increased gut health from probiotics can help to enhance your mood, as a healthy gut is often associated with a healthy mind. Moreover, any diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can make you feel better both physically and emotionally, and the staples of the Mediterranean diet remain true to this. Tomatoes, spinach, carrots, melons, and many other fruits and veggies that are part of the diet can help to improve your mood and overall outlook on life.
Promotes a Better Quality of Life
Those who eat a Mediterranean diet simply enjoy a better quality of life. Unlike many other diets, the Mediterranean diet encompasses all food groups and doesn’t deprive people of essential nutrients, albeit unrefined cereals, grains, and legumes are omitted from the Greek/Mediterranean lifestyle. The Mediterranean way of eating is not restrictive by any means, yet it allows one to feel satisfied while enjoying a healthier and well-balanced lifestyle. If you’re ready to feel better and live a longer life, the Mediterranean diet and Greekketo.com is a simple and delicious place to start.