The Mediterranean Sea population has one of the lowest chronic disease rates and highest life expectancy rates in the world. This has raised interest among researches over the last century. In the late 1960’s, after years of studying Mediterranean eating habits, Ancel Keys described the features of their diet. Today, the Mediterranean diet is ranked third in popularity in the U.S. and has almost as many followers as Mind Diet and TLC Diet.
The Mediterranean Diet requires daily consumption of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, unrefined grains and dairy products, weekly consumption of poultry, fish, potatoes, olives, nuts, red wine and legumes, and monthly consumption of red meat.
There are several health benefits that the Mediterranean diet is renowned for. Rich in fiber, the Mediterranean diet prevents blood sugar swings as well as aids in digestion, which results in type 2 diabetes risk reduction. Small portions of red meat, unrefined grains, red wine, and unprocessed foods help to prevent heart diseases and stroke. Also, based on lots of fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet lowers cholesterol level and improves blood vessel health, and therefore reduces the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Finally, the diet has a high level of antioxidants, which prevents cells from oxidative stress and results in Parkinson’s disease risk reduction.
A recent study by Swinburne University proved that even a short-term adherence to a Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on psychological functioning. For this study a focus group of 24 women were selected. Part of the group was randomly assigned to follow Mediterranean diet patterns and the rest were asked to keep their usual diet. As a result, the women who followed the Mediterranean diet for 10 days experienced elevation of contentment and alertness, improvement in aspects of cognition, and confusion reduction.
Overall, the Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on the whole body and is worth a try! To learn more about Mediterranean diet and other popular and healthy diets visit the WPHHA blog page.
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