The Mediterranean Diet: Fad or Factual?
There’s a diet out there for just about every lifestyle. Unfortunately, with so many choices it can be hard to figure out which diet might be right for you or, more importantly, which diets are authentic versus passing fads.
One of the more popular diets these days is the Mediterranean diet. As far as diets go, it’s not all too complicated: it primarily consists of foods that are heavily present in the Mediterranean region of the world: fruits, veggies, legumes, fish, poultry and, of course, olive oil. The diet focuses on the idea of cooking basic meals from scratch, relying on herbs and spices for flavor instead of fats and sugars.
The Mediterranean diet has been widely praised for not only being a non-restrictive, highly-delicious diet, but also for its benefits on heart health and its anti-inflammatory nature. And, as far as diet fads go, this one has some serious vetting behind it, including endorsements from the Mayo Clinic and other well-regarded health institutions.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the Mediterranean diet and explore what makes it such a beneficial approach to healthy eating!
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is one of the biggest ailments people cope with today and it’s the catalyst for a number of health problems—everything from arthritis to gastrointestinal conditions. Needless to say, keeping inflammation to a minimum is a necessity when it comes to diet.
The Mediterranean diet offers an anti-inflammatory diet meal plan that’s easy to follow, mostly because it excludes processed foods and foods that have the potential to cause inflammation. More than that, many of its focal foods offer anti-inflammatory properties, including fish and leafy greens. This combination of preventative and proactive inflammation reduction leave dieters feeling better almost immediately after adopting Mediterranean cuisine!
Better Nutrients, Fewer junk Carbs
The Mediterranean is packed with healthy, hearty nutrients that are essential for everything from brain function to heart health. At the center of them all are omega-3s.
Omega-3 fish oil is a wonderful addition to any diet because it promotes everything from better cognition, to lower inflammation, to better skin, hair and nails, and more! And, because fish is central to the diet, those abiding by it will reap the benefit of regular intake of omega-3s. For those who aren’t big on fish, it’s still possible to stay true to the diet— you’ll just have to take some omega-3 supplements.
In addition to omega-3s, this diet is also rich in folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, iron and potassium. Using olive oil in place of butter or vegetable oil can also have a profound effect when it comes to introducing antioxidants into a person’s daily diet.
For macronutrients, followers of the diet will get plenty of protein and healthy fats, while keeping carbs relatively low. This promotes better energy, lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and stable blood sugar.
Perhaps the best part about the Mediterranean diet is what’s noticeably absent from it. Red meats, processed foods, dairy and pasta are all kept to a minimum or excluded altogether from this diet—and with their absence comes heart-healthy and weight-positive considerations.
Lower red meat in the diet is shown to help keep cholesterol in check, while also controlling triglycerides. Sparing portions of pasta keep carb intake low and help avoid all of the intake associated with pasta dishes—dairy-based sauces, high-salt sauces and fatty meat complements. An absence of dairy also keeps fat content low.
Give It A Shot
With bountiful effects regarding natural anti-inflammatory foods and heart-healthy meal choices, the Mediterranean diet is something that’s easy to abide by and enjoy. If you’ve got a problem with cholesterol, inflammation, or weight, then this is one diet that’s easily adopted for the better. Plus, it’s been thoroughly studied to confirm its effects, making it a true-to-intent diet that can have rippling, positive lifestyle effects.