Trends come and go in the world of health and fitness, but the Mediterranean diet has been around for a very long time and isn’t going anywhere soon.
What is so great about the Mediterranean diet, and why do health experts say it’s one of the best ways to eat on the planet?
Here is a brief overview of the Mediterranean diet, and some insight on why it is so beneficial for our health and longevity.
Mediterranean Diet Defined
At its core, the Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating habits of populations that inhabit land surrounding the Mediterranean sea, including Spain, Italy, and Greece.
It’s not just the foods that make up the Mediterranean diet, but the overall lifestyles led by the people in these coastal towns and cities. Close community, plenty of physical activity, and an appreciation for the smaller things in life all play a role in overall health.
Some researchers also say that sustainable harvesting, farming, hunting, and production methods also play a part in the broader definition of the Mediterranean diet.
Americans could learn a thing or two from these societies, where eating well and spending time with loved ones is often higher on the priority list than career goals.
What to Eat, What to Avoid
The staples of the Mediterranean diet include unprocessed, natural foods that come from the earth and contain no man-made preservatives or chemical treatments.
Plant foods like legumes, veggies, fruits, and whole grains are the foundation of the diet and sit at the bottom of the food pyramid. Lean proteins like fish and poultry are also common but aren’t eaten at every meal. In terms of snacks, nuts and seeds are the most popular.
Finally, dairy products, red meat, and indulgences like chocolate and wine are to be consumed sparingly, since they are high in caloric density and can come with adverse health effects in larger quantities.
Of course, the Mediterranean diet wouldn’t be complete without plenty of extra virgin olive oil, which adds a ton of healthy fats and antioxidants to every dish. The fresher and more organic the EVOO, the healthier and more delicious your Mediterranean meals will be.
Unlike strict diets like Keto, Paleo, or South Beach, the Mediterranean diet is more flexible, with a greater focus on quality food and preparation rather than counting calories or macros.
Health Benefits and More
Numerous observational studies have found that the Mediterranean diet has a profound effect on longevity and quality of life, especially compared to most modern western diets.
With moderate amounts of clean carbs, plenty of lean protein, and healthy fats from olive oil, the Mediterranean diet is very well rounded and can be modified to fit a range of dietary restrictions and preferences.
In terms of disease prevention, it is far superior to the Standard American Diet, which is linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other ailments seen throughout our modern world.
By removing processed foods heavy in sugars and saturated fats, the Mediterranean diet can result in better skin, higher cognitive function, reduced inflammation, more energy, and even reduced levels of anxiety and depression.
Those who stick to the Mediterranean diet may also lose weight over time, which is likely the result of higher fiber intake and the consumption of monosaturated fat. According to the experts at OliveOil.com, the best quality olive oils are packed with these healthy fats that promote weight loss and other health benefits.
If you are interested in a heart-healthy, high energy diet that tastes great and brings people together, the Mediterranean diet is going to be your best bet.