Probably the most popular diet today is popular not only in the Mediterranean, not only in Europe but all over the world. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Mediterranean diet has placed itself at the very top of the best diets. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet (MD) is today considered the gold standard in preventive medicine.
People living in the Mediterranean have a lower than average rate of cardiovascular disease, which is largely attributed to the Mediterranean type of diet. Although it generally includes a high intake of vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, the use of olive oil as the primary source of fat and a low intake of red meat, there is no precise definition of the Mediterranean diet, nor are the components responsible for the observed positive effects identified.
The term refers to a diet represented in a fairly wide geographical area, so it should come as no surprise that eating habits vary significantly between states, peoples, and cultures.
The Mediterranean diet enjoys almost unanimous respect among physicians and scientists. The scientific basis behind its effects is relatively strong and shows little downsides. Especially when we compare it with standard Western diet, the modern "killing machine" with abundance of processed food.
The Mediterranean diet includes foods rich in fiber, such as grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, various types of seeds and olives, and increased intake of fish and seafood. Red meat intake should be reduced, while organic eggs and dairy products, as well as poultry meat should be consumed in moderation. The main source of fat is olive oil, and the most used natural sweetener is honey.
In addition to encouraging the consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet is quite easy to follow - not overly restrictive, like many other popular diets, and the menu includes a few glasses of red wine . In addition to the health benefits of the cardiovascular system, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet include the following:
It is good for your gut health.
One study found that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have a higher population of beneficial bacterial cultures in the microbiome, compared to those who follow a traditional Western diet. Researchers have found that consuming plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits and legumes increases the proportion of good bacteria by 7 percent. Regular consumption of fermented foods, in addition, increase microbiota diversity even more!
Slows down the aging process a.k.a longevity.
Thanks to anti-inflammatory foods such as olive oil, leafy vegetables and nuts, the Mediterranean diet protects the body from oxidative stress and inflammation, two conditions key to slowing the aging process. And that's good news for the whole body - especially your brain.
Comparing any diet pattern to MD usually result in "easy win" for Mediterranean. Reasons are pretty obvious: food variety and lack of processed food result in great benefits on human health. Living in Mediterranean area means also a lot of sun and lot of movement/activity. This is a simple equation of healthy lifestyle.
But healthy lifestyle should not be branded, and there is many areas on our planet where people live long and prosper. Only two of 5 world's blue zones (the term refers to geographic areas in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else in the world) are located in Mediterranean sea.
Wherever you live, take care of your lifestyle, make your nutrition foundation in unprocessed food, eat fermented daily to increase your microbiota diversity and gut health. When mentioned got paired with regular sleep and physical activity, you can enjoy your quality of life and longevity!