Top 5 Reasons Why the Mediterranean Diet Is Best?
I’m not taking about college rush, I am talking about your diet. A new large study, set to be published in the March 15, 2011 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology, says that the Greek’s Mediterranean Diet is the superior diet for improving one’s risk for diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. This study is just one of many which have come to this conclusion leading experts to agree that this diet the key to a healthier life.
The foundations of the Greek diet are quite simple. The majority of the calories in the diet come from plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. There is very little red meat consumed and instead the primary source of protein comes from fish and poultry. To cook and season, olive oil and canola oil are used in place of butter and spices in place of salt. Red wine is also an important part of the diet; however it is only used in moderation.
Here are the top ten reasons why you should eat like a Greek:
Lowers Risk for Heart Disease
People on the Mediterranean diet tend to have healthier hearts and less cardiovascular disease. Experts believe that this is because the diet is low in cholesterol and animal fats and high in fiber, antioxidants, Omega’s and healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts.
In the new study mentioned above researchers evaluated over a half million individuals and found that the Mediterranean diet reduced the incidence of metabolic syndrome by 31 percent. Metabolic syndrome is a condition which significantly contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease.
Also, back in 2008 a large meta-analysis was conducted of 12 studies including over 1.5 million people. This analysis examined the relationship between Mediterranean diet and overall health. The researchers determined those who adhered to the diet decreased their risk for death by cardiovascular disease by 9 percent.
Promotes Weight Loss
A diet rich in plant sources naturally is rich in fiber as well. The benefit of having a diet abundant in fiber is that it promotes satiety – or a feeling of fullness. People who eat high fiber diets tend to consume less calories and loose more weight than those who do not. Additionally, fiber also works to slow down the absorption of sugar in the intestines.
Decreases Risk for Diabetes
Many different studies have indicated that adherence to a Mediterranean diet can prevent type 2 diabetes and reduce the need for glucose controlling medication in those who already have the disease. This is likely due to its high fiber content, which slows down the absorption of sugar in the body and prevents sharp blood glucose peaks and drops. Also, the diet is low in sugar and high in complex carbohydrates, both of which combat diabetes.
Improves Cognitive Function
In 2009 a study conducted by Columbia University demonstrated that elderly who adhere to the Greek diet along with exercise have up to a 44 percent less risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. A similar study in 2006 published in the Archives of Neurology also demonstrated the same effect. Furthermore, for those who already suffer from dementia, the diet has been shown to increase the longevity of their lives. Researchers believe that this is likely due to the cholesterol-lowering benefits of the diet in addition to the moderate amounts of alcohol, which have also been shown to prevent against dementia.
There has also been evidence that the diet can promote happiness and ease symptoms of depression. A study of over 10,000 healthy Spanish adults showed that those who adhere to the Mediterranean diet were 30 percent less likely to experience symptoms of depression.
Adds Years to Your Life
Last, but certainly not least, the great balance of nutrients which are derived from the Mediterranean diet can increase longevity. There has been substantial evidence to this fact, although researchers are still debating as to exactly why this occurs. Perhaps it is because people on the diet have reduced risks for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Or it could be a combination of the olive oil, plant foods, and antioxidants which improve cell health and add years to one’s life.