Why Mediterranean Diet is Good for You?
Healthy Living

Why Mediterranean Diet is Good for You?

Elina Dawoodani profile Authored by Elina Dawoodani on 4 Sep 2014 - 12:39.

"Greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant improvement in health status, as seen by a significant reduction in overall mortality (9%), mortality from cardiovascular diseases (9%), incidence of or mortality from cancer (6%), and incidence of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (13%)" - Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis, British Medical Journal, Sep 2008.
 
It was a matter of contemplation for Scientists that despite the fact that people living in the Mediterranean region consume high amounts of fat, the incidence of heart disease was relatively lower than other countries. This drew their attention and started to study the diet of the Mediterraneans, in depth.
 
Mediterranean diet is basically a heart-friendly diet and has been known to prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease etc. to a large extent. It has an array of heart-healthy foods ranging from olive oil to nuts and fish.
 
Mediterranean plate includes:
  • Plant-based foods, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and their products, nuts, beans, peas and legumes
  • Mono-unsaturated oils like olive oil or rape seed oil instead of animal fat products like butter, lard etc.
  • Limitedred meat and fish which is a good sources of omega 3 and heart healthy
  • Yogurt, cheese (low fat alternatives)and eggs in small portions
  •  A good amount of herbs and spices as flavouring agents
  • Limited fast foods and processed foods which are high in fats and salt
  • Unsalted nuts, fruits etc. instead of chips, fries and other snacks
  • Adequate water
The food pyramid: Mediterranean diet
 
Sample menu plan:
  • Breakfast: Low fat cheese omelette with brown/ multigrain bread or chapattis
  • Pre lunch: Salad with olive oil dressing topped with roasted nuts and flax seeds
  • Lunch: Seafood gravy with chapattis and rice  
  • Snack: Fruits with handful of nuts and a glass of milk
  • Pre dinner: A bowl of low fat yogurt
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with herbs and garlic bread (multigrain bread) 
Health benefits of this diet:
  • Protection against type 2 diabetes
  • Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
  • Enhances agility
  • Decreases cholesterol levels
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s
  • Increases longevity
Limitations of this diet:
  • One to two servings of alcohol is included in the diet, which is not advisable for everyone. Those who have elevated triglycerides, suffering from pancreatitis or who are on various medications for other conditions should ideally avoid drinking.
  • Exact proportions are not mentioned.
  • It is not cost-effective.
What does research say?
 
Many studies point out the health benefits of this diet in general. Here are a few extracts from famous researches which indicate the same:
  • “The Mediterranean diet may protect against the harmful effect of urban environment on childhood asthma.”
  • “In addition to several studies confirming the above effects, current research on the Mediterranean Diet is being focused on defining its effects on non-traditional risk factors, such as endothelial function, inflammation, oxidative stress, or on controlling the conditions which predispose people to cardiovascular events, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
  • “Close adherence to Mediterranean diet seems to play a key role in age-related disease prevention and in attaining longevity.”
  • “Greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of diabetes (19 %; moderate quality evidence).”
  • “High adherence to a Mediterranean Diet is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of overall cancer mortality (10%), colorectal cancer (14%), prostate cancer (4%) and aerodigestive cancer (56%).”
  • “Higher adherence to Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline, and reduced risk of Alzheimer disease in nine out of 12 studies, whereas results for mild cognitive impairment were inconsistent.”
Final verdict:
 
It’s definitely a good diet to follow, especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. However, keep a check on your portion size and avoid consumption of alcohol. Moderation is the key!
Eat healthy and exercise to stay HEALTHY.
 
 
References:
 
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.