Mediterranean Diet: The new year is a time of change, reflection, and hope. People make resolutions ranging from public service to losing weight or quitting smoking. One resolution that should be made every year is to take better care of our bodies by choosing nutritious foods rather than calorie-dense ones.
One diet proven to be beneficial for overall health is the Mediterranean diet. This way of eating focuses on plant-based foods, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables in abundance, and moderate amounts of poultry and seafood. Here are nine benefits of following a Mediterranean diet meal plan.
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What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is mainly plant-based, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. This includes olive oil as the primary source of fat eaten at least a couple of times per day. It’s inspired by the traditional ways of eating in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece, Italy, and Spain. It’s a diet high in antioxidants, which scavenge harmful toxins and by-products that can damage cells.
A person following this way of eating will generally steer clear of processed and refined foods, such as white bread and pasta, and sweet treats.
A typical meal may include a salad dressed in olive oil with fresh tomatoes, chicken baked with herbs, whole wheat pasta, and fruit for dessert. Sounds simple yet delicious, doesn’t it? That’s why the Mediterranean diet is gaining in popularity alongside other nutrient-rich and life-balancing ways of eating like low-FODMAP meal plans and vegan meal plans.
Nine Benefits You’ll Enjoy While Following the Mediterranean Diet
Benefit 1: A Healthy Weight
If you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight, especially as you age, the Mediterranean diet is a great place to start. This diet is based on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It also includes healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, which help you feel full and satisfied after eating. As well, the moderate amount of seafood and poultry consumed on the Mediterranean diet provides protein without the unhealthy saturated fat found in other sources like red meat.
Benefit 2: Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
The Mediterranean diet is also great for your heart. It’s been researched for its ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease. This is likely due to multiple factors, including its plant-based food composition and the healthy fats it includes. In addition, it’s believed that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop heart disease because of the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds found in the foods they eat.
Benefit 3: Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose weight, the Mediterranean diet can also be a great help. It encourages a shift from bad habits, like eating processed foods and refined sugars. Instead, it emphasizes whole foods that are naturally filling and satisfying. Plus, its moderate portion sizes will leave you feeling full without eating too many calories. In fact, research shows that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to be obese.
Benefit 4: Healthy Skin and Hair
The Mediterranean diet is great for your skin as well as your heart. It provides healthy sources of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, iron and zinc, all of which play an essential role in the health of your hair and skin. These nutrients are vital for healthy skin and hair, and they can help prevent conditions like dry skin, eczema and hair loss.
Benefit 5: Reduced Risk of Cancer
The Mediterranean diet may also reduce your risk of cancer. This is likely due to its abundance of fruits, vegetables and other plant-derived foods, which are known to contain cancer-fighting antioxidants. Research has shown that diets high in antioxidant-rich foods can reduce your risk of cancer.
Benefit 6: Healthy Brain Function
The Mediterranean diet is also good for your brain function. It includes plenty of foods like whole grains, seafood, nuts and olive oil, which provide the omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants necessary for healthy brain function. Healthy fats and antioxidant-rich foods can help fight age-related memory loss by preventing the damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, they also support healthy circulation, which leads to better cognitive function.
Benefit 7: Strong Immune System
The Mediterranean diet is great for your immune system. Its emphasis on natural ingredients provides a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help keep your immune system functioning correctly. This diet also includes probiotics, beneficial bacteria that support gut health and immune function. These factors work together to keep you healthy and fight off infection. In fact, research shows that following a Mediterranean diet may prove helpful in fighting off chronic low-grade inflammatory diseases.
Benefit 8: Better Digestion
The Mediterranean diet is also known for being great for your digestive system. It emphasizes foods high in fiber and water, which promote healthy digestion and bowel function. Plus, the diet’s inclusion of various fruits and veggies promotes a healthy mix of bacteria throughout your entire digestive tract. This can help reduce inflammation throughout your body by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Healthy digestion is also essential for maintaining a healthy weight. It ensures that you break down and absorb nutrients properly.
Benefit 9: Healthier Gut
Lastly, the Mediterranean diet is great for your gut. It includes plenty of probiotics, beneficial bacteria that support gut health and immune function. These factors work together to keep you healthy and fight off infection. In fact, research shows that following a Mediterranean diet may help reduce intestinal inflammation by promoting the growth of good gut bacteria and be an effective way of managing disease control.
Give It a Try!
So, if you’re looking for a healthy diet to start the new year off with, the Mediterranean diet is a great option. It’s loaded with nutrients that support your health in many different ways. Plus, it’s easy to follow and doesn’t require any unique ingredients or hard-to-find foods. If you need help, some great Mediterranean meal delivery services are available that make following this way of eating incredibly easy. All the benefits with far less planning