is based on the traditional cuisine of Italy, Greece, and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a primarily herbal approach, with the animal-preferred The Mediterranean Diet protein be fish and seafood. The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices. It also encourages moderate red wine consumption and a reduction in processed foods. Here we’ve rounded up seven scientifically proven benefits of the Mediterranean diet. And if after reading this article you decide to try this diet, be sure to read our
for useful tips and advice.
Simple Mediterranean Diet Plan 1. It can help you live longer
The Mediterranean diet may hold one of the keys to longevity and slower aging in centenarians. Many
studies (opens in new tab) have shown that older people who stick to this diet are more likely to live longer.
There is also evidence that following a Mediterranean diet may help seniors maintain their strength and mobility. Frailty is a syndrome that combines the effects of natural aging with the consequences of multiple chronic diseases and a loss of physical fitness. It can significantly impair the quality of life in old age. And according to a meta-analysis published in
The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging (opens in new tab)higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of frailty.
(Image credit: Getty Images) 2. Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease
The most well-known benefit of the Mediterranean diet – and the best-researched – is its impact on cardiovascular health. This could be partly attributed to the effect it has on the endothelium: the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels. According to a published review
Journal of Nutrition (opens in new tab)Mediterranean diets help improve endothelial function, which in turn prevents cholesterol plaques from building up in the arteries.
studies (opens in new tab) have shown that this diet pattern can protect against coronary heart disease and stroke. There is also proof (opens in new tab) that it may lower our risk of heart failure. 3. May prevent cognitive decline and dementia
Better brain health as you age is another potential benefit of the Mediterranean diet. Many
studies (opens in new tab) have shown how this dietary pattern may contribute to better cognitive function and reduced risk of cognitive decline in healthy older adults. In addition, there is compelling evidence that Mediterranean diets can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease as described in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (opens in new tab). In Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal proteins called amyloids form plaques that disrupt communication between the . That is why they are used as biomarkers for this serious disease. neurons
(Image credit: Getty Images) 4. Helps to lose weight
The Mediterranean diet is not only healthy but can also help you lose weight. A
is the main principle behind weight maintenance, and the Mediterranean diet naturally includes many low-calorie foods. calorie deficit
PREDIMED Plus study (opens in new tab) followed 6,355 overweight participants on their weight loss journey. Researchers found that those who adhered to the Mediterranean diet the most also had the best weight-loss results. There is also evidence that this eating pattern can be a great weight maintenance strategy. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (opens in new tab), higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a two-fold increased likelihood of maintaining weight over the long term. If you want to try it yourself, be sure to check out our guide on the . Mediterranean diet for weight loss 5. May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
One of the lesser-known benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it can help prevent and treat
. As described in Nutrient Type 2 diabetes (opens in new tab)
Journal, there are several ways this eating pattern may improve blood sugar levels, including high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds Foods with a low glycemic index (GI), and better antioxidants . According to a meta-analysis published in gut health Advances in Nutrition Journal, even modest adherence to a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
(Image credit: Getty Images) 6. May protect against cancer
According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in new tab)nearly one in 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer is also the second leading cause of death in the United States today. Although there are many types of cancer and contributing factors, a healthy diet consistently remains an important prevention strategy. Many studies specifically point to the Mediterranean diet as a way to avoid these serious diseases.
According to a published review
European Journal of Nutrition (opens in new tab), higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer. It also significantly reduces the risk of developing colon, head, neck, respiratory, stomach, liver, and bladder cancers. 7. May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
The Mediterranean diet could also bring benefits to those affected by
. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe joint pain and stiffness, and for which there is no known cure. Rheumatoid arthritis
One of the main characteristics of this disease is high levels of eicosanoids: compounds that promote inflammation. Several
studies (opens in new tab) have shown that anti-inflammatory diets, including plant-based and Mediterranean-style eating patterns, are an effective way to reduce eicosanoid production and associated joint pain. According to scientists of International Rheumatology (opens in new tab) Journal, the Mediterranean diet may also help improve physical function in people with the condition.
(Image credit: Getty Images)
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice.