Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. (1) There are very few cases of heart disease in countries of the Mediterranean. Researchers believe that their healthy diet is the main reason for their low rates of heart disease.(2)
The Mediterranean diet is high in plants including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, potatoes, nuts and seeds. They also use large amounts of olive oil and red wine along with moderate servings of fish, poultry, dairy and eggs. Red meat is rarely consumed in this region.(2)
Though this diet has been around for centuries, it is currently gaining mainstream popularity due research. Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is a good way to improve your health and prevent disease. (2)
Mediterranean diet results in younger brains, loss of fewer brain cells and improved cognition!
One study found that those who consume the Mediterranean diet have less brain atrophy, resulting in the loss of fewer brain cells and improved cognition. The study found that eating less meat resulted in a larger brain volume. Eating more fish was associated with increased cortical thickness. The study divided participants into two groups, those who ate Mediterranean diet and those who did not. The group that did not consume the Mediterranean diet’s brains had aged five years compared to the group who consumed the Mediterranean diet. In the group who consumed the Mediterranean diet, their brain volume was 13 percent larger.(3)
A 2010 study supports this information rerouted that those who adhere to the Mediterranean diet were 36 percent less likely to have damage to the brain. (3)
The diet is not only good for the brain, but is also helpful in preventing diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. (2)
Mediterranean diet decreases risk of stroke by 39 percent!
A 2013 study had a total of 7,447 participants with high risk of cardiovascular disease. They were divided into three different diets, a Mediterranean diet with added olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with added nuts and a low-fat control group. The study concluded that the risk of stroke went down by 39 percent in the Mediterranean diet groups. Those with high blood pressure, lipid problems or obesity responded best to the Mediterranean diet.(2)
A 2007 study examined the impact of the Mediterranean diet on 372 individuals who were at high cardiovascular risk. After three months, researchers assessed changes oxidative stress. Researchers found that the diet cause reductions in LDL cholesterol along with improvements in other risk factors. (2)
Mediterranean diet reduces risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 52 percent!
A 2011 study, similar to the 2013 study above, included 418 non-diabetic participants were followed for 4 years. Researchers examined their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study found that 10 and 11 percent of the individuals in the Mediterranean diet groups became diabetic compared with 17.9 percent in the low-fat control group. The Mediterranean diet reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 52 percent!(2)
If you are not interested in giving up meat and dairy completely, the Mediterranean diet may be a perfect option that has numerous health benefits.