May is Mediterranean Diet Month. A true Mediterranean diet consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, seafood, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, and other foods that help fight cardiovascular ailments, chronic diseases, and cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet was derived from the traditions of Greece, Crete, and southern Italy. It should be coupled with regular exercise for best results.
A traditional Mediterranean diet has the following health benefits:
- Protects against type 2 diabetes – The Mediterranean diet is rich in fiber that slows down digestion and prevents swings in blood sugar levels.
- Prevents heart disease and strokes – The diet discourages eating processed foods, refined breads, and red meat, which may all contribute to heart disease. For those who drink, the diet encourages red wine, which is rich in reservatrols, instead of hard liquor.
- Keeps you agile – The Mediterranean style of eating offers nutrients that reduce the risk for weak muscles and frailty in seniors.
- Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s – Cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as the overall blood vessel health of individuals, can be improved with this diet, leading to a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease – Oxidative stress can damage cells, leading to Parkinson’s disease. The Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants that prevent this cell damage. Some studies show that the risk of Parkinson’s disease is reduced by as much as half when people adopt lean, plant-based diets such as the Mediterranean diet.
- Increases longevity – Healthy eating can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Some estimates show that eating the Mediterranean way can allow people to live 20 percent longer.
A Mediterranean diet offers plenty of health benefits, and it’s enjoyable, too. Unlike many restrictive diets, Mediterranean-style eating, affords a lot of variety and flavor.