What is the Mediterranean Diet and Why Do I Need it?

The Mediterranean diet involves more than just food. By combining a well-balanced diet, consumed in a relaxed environment (no fast food!) with regular physical exercise, the Mediterranean diet is a model for healthy living.

The hallmarks of this sensible way of eating are plant-based products, nutrient-rich foods, fresh, unprocessed ingredients, and healthy fats. The emphasis is on fresh foods prepared in a simple fashion, using minimal amounts of saturated fat, sodium and sugars. Extra-virgin olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that is thought to protect against cardiovascular disease and is frequently integrated into this unique diet.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that women who had healthier dietary patterns at midlife were 40 percent more likely to survive to age 70 year or over without major chronic disease and loss of physical function, cognition or mental health. The middle-aged women in this study followed a Mediterranean diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, limited alcohol intake and little red meat.

Previous studies of the Mediterranean diet have showed additional health benefits including:

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular events
  • Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Reduced risk of a stroke
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Slowed progression of carotid plaque

The Mediterranean diet is especially protective of the cardiovascular system with its reputation for lowering total carotid plaque, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugars.

A Mediterranean vacation would be great but if that's not happening, why not try the Mediterranean Diet? It's a simple and easy way of eating that affords you a healthy lifestyle, a longer lifespan and healthy aging.

This post has been reproduced with the permission of Dr. SherryTM

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