From omega-3 fatty acids to antioxidants, the Mediterranean Diet has long been known for its nutritional and tasty fare. With heart disease on the rise across the world, there is no better time to consider the multiple advantages and long-term benefits of this lifestyle change.
In fact, U.S. News has named the Mediterranean Diet the #1 best plant-based diet in the country.
The experts loved the Mediterranean Diet because it was nutritionally sound and because it greatly lowered cardiovascular risk. Not to mention, they also loved the variety of this flavorful and indulgent diet, because it features foods that actually taste good…meaning that dieters will be more likely to stick to the program.
But hold up a second…
What Is The Mediterranean Diet, Anyway?
The Mediterranean diet places an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes that are typically found in the Mediterranean region. Seafood such as fish is enjoyed on a weekly basis. Limiting red meat and dairy consumption as well as cutting back on salt and sugar intake is proven to thwart chronic diseases associated with poor diet choices. Cheese, yogurt, and wine can also be enjoyed in moderation.
Related: 7 Benefits Of Red Wine
Sounds like a bit of work, but it’s totally worth it. Check out the reasons why you should start and stick to the Mediterranean Diet.
Five Reasons To Stick to The Mediterranean Diet
1. It’s heart-healthy
Filled with fats such as olive oil and dishes that include poultry and omega-3 laden fishes, the inclusion of heart-healthy fats (while limiting saturated and other unhealthy fats) helps lower the risk of heart disease as well as moderating blood pressure.
2. It can prevent cancer
Known cancer-fighting foods such as cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli and spinach) and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, and beans, to name a few) are packed with antioxidants and are classic options on the Mediterranean menu. Opting for produce-rich meals has plenty of preventative properties while packing a healthful punch.
3. It boosts testosterone
Men, listen up. New research shows that men who consume more omega-3s have increased testosterone while foods such as leafy greens positively impact the prostate.
Eating clean and making healthy diet choices will naturally improve the body’s level of functioning. Whether you are trying to enhance your fertility or simply trying to ensure that you have plenty of energy and drive, following the Mediterranean diet can help you to look and feel your best.
4. It will help you lose weight
The Mediterranean diet isn’t so much a “diet” as it is a lifestyle, but it will certainly help you lose weight. Simply choosing the foods that are consistent with the Mediterranean food pyramid is bound to be beneficial for your waistline.
Related: A Diet To Lose Weight: 5 Tips
Typical Mediterranean diet meals have inherently healthy ingredients such as vegetables and whole grains. Part of the obesity epidemic stems from consuming processed meals over fresh foods.
Rather than filling up on prepackaged diet meals or vending machine snacks, the Mediterranean diet encourages you to reach for whole, nutritious foods such as lean protein (such as fish or seafood), healthy fats (thinks nuts and olive oil), and plenty of produce.
Not only is eating this way delicious, but it will also help you to consume less sugar and fewer preservatives, as well as help you to lose weight.
5. It prevents chronic diseases
Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease are just a few of the chronic conditions that decrease statistically when compared to a population who does not stick to a Mediterranean diet.
The plant-based food plan with a breakdown of 50 percent produces, 25 percent protein, and 25 percent whole-grain offers a balanced approach that goes along with what dieticians have recommended all along.
Of course, for most people, eating the Mediterranean diet is an easy choice, simply because it tastes good. It allows you to consume the foods you love (wine, cheese, seafood, produce, etc.) without banning entire food groups or forcing you to live a monastic lifestyle. Instead, dieters can still eat all of their favorite foods, just with a few tweaks and a bit of moderation.
When all is said and done, the Mediterranean diet is not really a diet at all…it’s a lifestyle change and a powerful one at that!
Dr. John Pierce, a specialist in wellness, preventative medicine, testosterone replacement therapy, and hormone replacement therapy, focuses his practice on the latest and most innovative age management therapies to provide patients with optimal health. Since 1998, the center has specialized in cutting-edge therapies, which include the supplementation of DHEA, testosterone, pregnenolone, estrogen, progesterone, melatonin, and thyroid to maintain hormonal balance.
Photo by Helena Maskova
Originally published in May 2013 and updated in June 2014.