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The Mediterranean diet – and how it could change your life

Diets are a dime a dozen these days, with medical professionals swearing by certain ways of eating and methods of staying fit and healthy. There is the Atkins Diet, Banting and even Intermittent Fasting at the top of the mainstream list of favourites – and one diet that many swear by, is the Mediterranean diet.

Nowadays, following a certain diet doesn’t only put you on the path of health and wellness, but with social media and the Internet, it enters you into a community of likeminded dieters from all over the world.

The Mediterranean diet has taken the diet world by storm, with very few negative side effects coming from people who live by the diet’s rules.

 

What is the Mediterranean diet?

By definition, it is a diet that’s prevalent in Mediterranean countries and is characterized especially by a high consumption of vegetables and olive oil and a moderate consumption of protein, and it’s believed to confer health benefits.

The Mediterranean diet isn’t necessarily for weight loss. It is derived from the way of life of the people of Mediterranean cities (Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy).These places are known for having some of the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer worldwide.

Jessica Migala from Everyday Health explains: “You’ll find that in their meals, they emphasize a plant-based eating approach, loaded with vegetables and healthy fats, including olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids from fish. It’s a diet known for being heart-healthy.” (1) “This diet is rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts and legumes, and olive oil,” says Nancy L. Cohen, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. On this plan, you’ll limit or avoid red meat, sugary foods, and dairy (though small amounts of yogurt and cheese are eaten).

Eating this way means you also have little room for processed fare. When you look at a plate, it should be bursting with colour; traditional proteins such as chicken may be more of a side dish compared to the produce filling the plate.

 

What are the benefits?

Benefits of following the Mediterranean diet include significant health benefits, ranging from reduced blood sugar to better memory.

It has even been known to strengthen bones. One study suggests that certain compounds in olive oil may help preserve bone density by increasing the proliferation and maturation of bone cells. Another study found that dietary patterns associated with the Mediterranean diet may help to prevent osteoporosis, reports UHN Daily.

It has been said to manage diabetes and control blood sugar, fight depression and have cancer-prevention properties.

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