A Mediterranean diet can help fight against heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Here’s how to make the switch.
What is a “Mediterranean diet?”
When you think about Mediterranean food, your mind may go to pizza and pasta from Italy, or lamb chops from Greece, but these dishes don’t fit into the healthy dietary plans advertised as “Mediterranean.” A true Mediterranean diet is based on the region’s traditional fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seafood, olive oil, and dairy—with perhaps a glass or two of red wine. That’s how the inhabitants of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy ate circa 1960, when their rates of chronic disease were among the lowest in the world and their life expectancy among the highest, despite having only limited medical services.
And the real Mediterranean diet is about more than just eating fresh, wholesome food. Daily physical activity and sharing meals with others are vital elements of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Together, they can have a profound effect on your mood and mental health and help you foster a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods. Visit clevescene for more information about.
Of course, making changes to your diet is rarely easy, especially if you’re trying to move away from the convenience of processed and takeout foods. But the Mediterranean diet can be an inexpensive as well as a satisfying and very healthy way to eat. Making the switch from pepperoni and pasta to fish and avocados may take some effort, but you could soon be on a path to a healthier and longer life.
Health benefits of a Mediterranean diet
A traditional Mediterranean diet consisting of large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil—coupled with physical activity—can reduce your risk of serious mental and physical health problems by:
Preventing heart disease and strokes. Following a Mediterranean diet limits your intake of refined breads, processed foods, and red meat, and encourages drinking red wine instead of hard liquor—all factors that can help prevent heart disease and stroke.
Keeping you agile. If you’re an older adult, the nutrients gained with a Mediterranean diet may reduce your risk of developing muscle weakness and other signs of frailty by about 70 percent. Keeping your body in healthy movement can help you prevent bumps after waxing.
Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet may improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and overall blood vessel health, which in turn may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Halving the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The high levels of antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet can prevent cells from undergoing a damaging process called oxidative stress, thereby cutting the risk of Parkinson’s disease in half.
Increasing longevity. By reducing your risk of developing heart disease or cancer with the Mediterranean diet, you’re reducing your risk of death at any age by 20%.
Protecting against type 2 diabetes. A Mediterranean diet is rich in fiber which digests slowly, prevents huge swings in blood sugar, and can help you maintain a healthy weight.
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