The Mediterranean diet as the name suggests is a traditional way of eating in Mediterranean region which has countries like Greece and southern Italy. In the early 1950s And 1960s, a research team observed that this kind of eating style provided numerous cardiovascular health benefits. This article discusses how the Mediterranean way of diet can be the ultimate guide to a heart healthy lifestyle that can be incorporated easily into an individual’s life.
The Mediterranean cuisine originates in the Mediterranean region, comprising of the traditional eating habits of the population of at least 16 countries, with minor differences based on culture, religion, ethnicity and the preferences of the local population in the various regions, among others.
Despite these variations, the typical cuisine comprises of dairy products, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, bread, potatoes, peas, nuts, and seeds, which form a part of the broad based balanced diet. Olive oil is the primary source of monounsaturated fat that is used for cooking and seasoning.
The diet is somewhat similar to the American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines for heart health, with fat accounting for a smaller proportion of the total calories consumed than in other diet plan like the keto and the paleo diet.
The Mediterranean food pyramid is distinctly different from other food pyramids. People in the Mediterranean region consumed more healthy fats as a part of their diet, such as olive oil. Physical activity was also considered an important part of the traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, making it a healthier option in comparison to cultures such as the United States.
Fish and seafood form a prominent part of the food pyramid because of the local preferences and are consumed more in proportion to other foods such poultry and eggs. Red meat does not find much favour in the region and is consumed in moderation compared to other regional diets. Red meats contain a higher level of cholesterol than the lean meats, making it an exclusion for consumption or limited in consumption for leading a heart healthy lifestyle.
According to studies, a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of heart disease and also benefits mental health as it delays the brain ageing process. This diet is rich in nutrients like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, primarily sourced from fatty fish, which positively support heart and mental health.
Extensive studies have linked both antioxidants and omega-3 to other health benefits like lower inflammation and reducing stress levels, thereby reducing the risk of diseases related to the heart and digestive disorders.
A Mediterranean diet seems to offer numerous health benefits and is considered as one of the better in balanced healthy eating plans today. This plant-based diet restricts the consumption of red meat and stresses on a balanced moderate consumption of fish and other healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet can help prevent common health problems related to lifestyle that occur as a part of the normal aging process, thereby increasing the longevity.
In conclusion, the Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy lifestyle choice that comprises of the traditional healthy eating habits from the Mediterranean region of the world. The diet is packed with healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and advocates minimal consumption of red meat and sugar.
The Mediterranean diet comprises of foods have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, protect the brain from aging faster, and provide numerous other health benefits that occur as a part of the aging process.
Though a healthy, balanced diet, forms an integral part of a healthy lifestyle there are other factors also that affect a lifestyle such as physical activity and other lifestyle related habits such as the age, sex, sleeping patterns, stress levels, etc besides the regional preferences.
Studies have shown she Mediterranean diet as one of the world’s ideal nutritional diets, providing numerous health benefits including lower risk of heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, which are the more lifestyle related disorders in the modern world.
The emphasis of this diet is on whole, unprocessed foods, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of lean protein. Here are the must-have foods to round off your Mediterranean diet in a healthier and balanced manner: