Sun, sea and delicious food is what makes the Mediterranean famous around the world. The way of eating and lifestyle of people living in that area is commonly known as "Mediterranean diet". But why is it considered so healthy and balanced?
First of all, cultures in the Mediterranean associate health to more than just food. They also focus on sport and physical activities and social gatherings to spend time with their loved ones.
Moreover, the Mediterranean diet includes the consumption of a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It does include dairy and meat too, but in smaller quantities, and it suggests to stay away from processed or red meat. It's the combination of all these elements that seems to benefits our health, especially considering the healthy fats.
Let's now jump into the benefits and why people are encouraged to follow this way of eating.
A high fiber-rich diet, like the Mediterranean, takes a longer time to digest, and thus, gives a sense of satiety, which altogether helps maintain healthy body weight.
As mentioned before, this kind of nutrition includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, which are known to be sources of antioxidants. For this reason, this diet can help protect the body from stress-induced damages associated with age-related disorders.
Mediterranean diet limits your intake of refined breads, processed foods, and red meat. All those factors can contribute to reduce the risk of health-related adversities, such as hearth diseases and strokes.
It may improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood vessel health, which means that the risk of chronic illnesses like Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, kidney problems, pulmonary disorders and diabetes are much lower. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet has been found to improve brain functions, leading to improved memory and learning, thinking abilities, and concentration power.
Due to the presence of a high amount of beneficial nutrients, it can help protecting the muscle from damage, leading to increased muscular strength and higher agility.
Ok, but if I want to follow a Mediterranean diet, where do I even start from?
We always suggest to talk to an expert in order to find the diet that best work for you. However, here are some guidelines included in the Mediterranean diet:
Water, water, water. Hydration is key for health and wellbeing, this I why you should be drinking at least 8 glasses of fluids a day.
Whole grains are your best friends! Include in your diet brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, chia, amaranth, bulgar and buckwheat, instead of always choosing white types of grain.
5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day, keep the doctor away. Let beans, veggies and fruit take up most of the real estate on your plate. The more colorful your dish is, the better!
Do dairy or dairy alternatives! Low or non-fat dairy products provide calcium and potassium.
Swap your fats. Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and try using avocado spread in your toast instead of butter: you'll be pleasantly surprised by its delicious taste!