6 Benefits to the Mediterranean Diet
Choosing the proper food plan can be difficult. Simply searching for an ideal food plan is almost as much work as cooking meals or meal prepping. Options can be overwhelming and after awhile, it’s easy to throw up your hands in defeat and simply try to choose healthy options.
Today, we’re going to talk about one of the easiest food plans out there: the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is from, you guessed it, countries around the Mediterranean Sea. That mean Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt all contribute to this diet.
Now before you get excited, it does not mean you’ll be able to eat as much pizza and gyros as you want (although cheat days are important), but is centered around natural foods.
Below, we’re going to run through seven fantastic benefits of this diet.
It’s Easy to Follow
Have you ever tried to find a diet that called for some bizarre recipe that called for a vegetable you’ve never heard of or some kind of weird flour? With the Mediterranean diet, you’ll be able to find everything you need at a local grocery store.
Here is a quick list of items:
- Lean meats
- Whole-grain pasta and bread
- Olive oil
- Beans and legumes
You won’t have to be running around town trying to find the perfect ingredients.
It’s Great For Your Heart
Following the Mediterranean diet means limiting your sugar, processed foods, hard liquor, and refined bread intake all of which are going to boost your heart health.
All studies point to the Mediterranean diet lessening your chance of a stroke, heart attack, or heart disease. This means that the diet is also going to help you live longer, a win-win for everything.
Promotes Brain Health
After moving from the most important organ in your body, we move to perhaps the second most important: your brain. As we grow older, we are naturally going to lose some brain functions. We may not be as quick-witted or catch up on things as fast in the past, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your brain turn to mush.
The Mediterranean diet helps long-term brain health through improving your vascular health. More oxygen going to the brain over time is great for an aging brain.
Keeps Muscles and Bones Strong
We all know milk is supposed to help with your bones, but so can the Mediterranean diet. As you age, your muscles and bones will lose some of their natural strength over time.
The Mediterranean diet can help keep muscles and bones healthy, lessening the risk of frailty or a serious injury when falling. This is especially true for post-menopausal women who often see a quicker decrease in muscle mass sooner.
Manages the Effects of Anxiety and Depression
While the studies are not 100% conclusive on this, many point to the healthy nutrients the Mediterranean diet supplies and have linked that with improving effects on anxiety and depression.
The reason for this is the nutrients from leafy green vegetables and eggs help boost the good bacteria in your gut which in turn boosts your mood. You probably aren’t going to feel happy right away after eating a salad, but prolonged commitment is bound to bring back healthy results.
Not a Restrictive Diet
You often see some diets and food plan that seem to scream NO X NUTRIENT when you follow their plans. The Mediterranean diet isn’t very restrictive at all.
The things it does restrict you from eating; foods and drinks high in sugar, processed foods, refined grains, trans-fats, etc. are things you should already be avoiding.
You’ll find tons of recipes that call for all kinds of foods you regularly eat and you won’t feel boxed in at all.
The only “restrictions” the diet has are the fish and alcohol intake. While fish is encouraged, you should make sure to eat it only two times a week and avoid fish that have a high mercury count. The same principle goes with wine. While a glass of red wine is encouraged with meals, you shouldn’t be planning on polishing off a bottle every night. 3-4 times a week usually does the trick.