The Mediterranean diet is a key aspect of our culture. It is part of our daily lives and, although we may not be aware of it, it is always there. However, beyond being a cultural trait or a simple gastronomic variety, the truth is that the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are numerous. Read on because in this article we will discuss what those benefits are and how this way of eating can contribute to your well-being.
What is the Mediterranean diet
Let’s start with the basics: what does it consist of, what are its characteristics, what makes it different from other types of nutrition? There are many questions that may arise when talking about food and we like you to be curious about it.
First of all, we tell you that this term designates the traditional way of eating of the populations of the Mediterranean basin, hence its name. In other words, we are talking about countries such as France, Italy, Greece and, of course, Spain.
Broadly speaking, the diet is based on the use of legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and a moderate consumption of wine. Healthy fats, such as olive oil, our liquid gold, or oily fish, rich in omega-3, are also essential. There are no rigid guidelines in this regard, just think about the food your grandparents or great-grandparents used to eat to get an idea.
The result is a delicious and nutritious cuisine in equal parts. So much so that it has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and also recognized for the fifth consecutive year as the best diet in the world according to U.S. News & World Report.
What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?
Beyond the perception that we may have based on our experience, the truth is that this diet is supported by numerous scientific studies. It is therefore ideal for all those who wish to improve their health and protect themselves against disease. Are you one of these people? The following is a detailed description of the positive aspects of this diet.
Contributes to cardiovascular health
This nutritional model is perfect for improving cardiovascular health. The absence of processed and saturated fats, as well as the contribution of powerful antioxidants such as hydroxytyrosol are the keys to its success. Several studies indicate that:
- Promotes heart activity by reducing diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease or stroke
heart disease or having a stroke
stop the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Plaque is what is known as fat and cholesterol deposits that clog blood vessels. Undoubtedly, one of the most influential factors in the development of cardiac problems.
Protects brain function
In addition to being useful to ensure the proper functioning of our brain, the typical Mediterranean diet helps to prevent cognitive deterioration that arises as a result of aging. Oil, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, bread and fish are ingredients rich in antioxidants. This function is positive for cell regeneration in various organs, such as the brain.
Memory and attention span, as well as other cognitive functions, are the main beneficiaries of this diet, as indicated by some studies.
Keeps us in shape
It is clear that overweight and obesity are factors that contribute to an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular problems as well as ailments in our joints and bones. That is why this diet is so interesting.
Thanks to the variety of its products and its low caloric intake, it helps to control weight and provide a feeling of physical well-being. If you add some exercise to the equation, you can be in great shape in no time.
Extends life expectancy
If we add up all these benefits, the ultimate consequence is that the life expectancy and quality of life of people who opt for this diet is superior to the rest. Not only do we live longer, but the aging we have to go through will be much healthier.
Experts in the field point out that for every ten years we spend being faithful to this diet, we can add up to four months of healthy life to our lives.
It is also interesting to note that this diet is related to the prevention of certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer.