Have you ever tried eating like people in the Mediterranean? If so, how did it go? Do you still eat this way to this day? Good for you if you know about this diet and use it to plan your meals. But for those who don't know, here's what it is and what it does for your health. 


The Mediterranean diet is the last thing you would expect to help you lose weight. Instead, it promotes a way of eating that includes the main foods that people in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, like Spain, Greece, Italy, and France, eat every day. It also emphasizes getting together with family and friends and having a good time.


Mediterranean eaters focus on plant-based meals full of veggies and healthy fats, such as olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids from fish. It is known to be good for your heart.


Eating this way gives you only a little room for prepared foods. When you look at a plate, it should be full of bright colors. Traditional meats like chicken may be more of a side dish than the main event, fruits, and vegetables.


Sleep better


A review looked at past studies to determine the effect of a Mediterranean diet on how long people slept at night and how well they slept. The research shows that people are more likely to sleep longer and better the more they follow a Mediterranean diet.


One healthcare worker says that the foods that are stressed and those that aren't probably play a role. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats like fish and low in processed foods and refined carbs. The Mediterranean diet is also full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help people sleep better.


Lessen pain and swelling.


A study of past studies showed that following the Mediterranean diet could help reduce inflammation and protect against illnesses like COVID-19 and heart disease. The study shows that plant-based foods, whole grains, and good fats may help lower inflammation.


The anti-inflammatory effects of this type of diet may be due to the antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds in plant-based foods, the promotion of a healthy gut microbiome, and the reduction of unhealthy fats and added sugars that can cause inflammation.


Lengthen life span


A study found that the Mediterranean diet was one of four diets regularly linked to a lower risk of death from any cause or all causes. Heart disease, cancer, and lung disease were all listed as causes of death by the writers. People who eat these foods may have less inflammation, a stronger immune system, and a lower chance of getting chronic illnesses.


Lowers the risk of dementia


A study showed that people who ate more, like those on the Mediterranean diet, were less likely to get dementia. The study shows that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish and low in red meat and heavy fats can help protect the brain from cognitive loss.


A Mediterranean diet might be good for brain health because it reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance and improves the health of the heart and metabolism.


Lowers the chance of prostate cancer


Micronutrients were examined in a study of Caucasian men with late-onset prostate cancer. People with prostate cancer had much lower amounts of lycopene, lutein, and -carotene in their blood than those in the control group. The foods in the Mediterranean diet contain these nutrients. For example, lycopene is found in cucumbers and tomatoes, and selenium is a vitamin found in nuts, grains, and other plant-based foods.


The study shows that men with higher levels of micronutrients like selenium and beta carotene were less likely to get cancer than men with lower micronutrients.


It may help your eyesight as you age.


It is a common reason why people over 50 lose their vision. It can make it harder to see in low light and make it harder to see faces and colors.


Following a Mediterranean diet may be a good idea based on new studies. A review found that following a Mediterranean diet makes age-related macular degeneration less likely to get worse from early to late stages.


Help people's mental minds.


The Mediterranean diet might be good for more than just your body. In a study of 72 men with mild to severe depression, the Mediterranean diet was compared to a treatment called "befriending," in which a patient is introduced to at least one other person to give them more social support. People in the group that ate a Mediterranean diet said that their quality of life was better than those in the group that got friendship therapy.


The Mediterranean Diet is good for your health, both physically and mentally. Here are the most critical parts of the diet that you should keep in mind. 


Oil from olives

Italy, Spain, and Greece make the most olive oil in the world, and olive oil is the one thing that all the different eating styles of the Mediterranean diet have in common. Extra-virgin olive oil contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals like tocopherols, carotenoids, and flavonoids.


Olives


Polyphenols are also found in many table olives, especially Kalamata olives. Olives are always eaten whole and often used to cook and season food. Put split olives, olive oil, garlic, and favorite spices in a food processor. This will make a simple tapenade that can be used as a dip, sandwich spread, or topping for fish and chicken. 


Wheat


Wheat is the most important crop in the Mediterranean. Triticum dicoccum, also called farro or emmer, is an old wheat that is becoming popular again in Italy and the United States. Bulgur is made from whole wheat berries that have been cooked, dried, and cracked. It is used in pilafs, tabbouleh, and kibbe, a classic Lebanese food made with ground meat, bulgur, and spices. 


Wine


In the traditional Mediterranean diet, alcohol was usually drunk in moderation, in the form of wine, and usually at meals, in the old Greek word "symposium." Red wine, in particular, has polyphenols, antioxidants, and the molecule resveratrol, which may help raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.


Greens Wild


Greens-based pies, tortes, or tortas are standard in Greece, southern France, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries. Wild, dark leafy greens are high in pigments, vitamins C and E, and minerals like magnesium, iron, and calcium, but the exact amounts vary by species and variety. Greens have a lot of flavonoids, but not all greens have the same amount, so it's best to eat a range of greens. Greens also have omega-3 fatty acids that come from plants. In North America, you can eat dandelion greens, purslanes, and grown greens like kale, beet greens, mustard greens, and collard greens, which are full of nutrients. 


Garbanzos, or chickpeas,


A half cup of cooked chickpeas is a good protein, copper, iron, and magnesium source. It is also a great source of fiber, folate, and manganese. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus. They are a type of bean that was one of the first to be grown. Classic food in Puglia, Italy, is a soup made with black and white chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, and whole wheat.


Lemons


Acidic foods lower insulin reactions because they take longer to empty the stomach. Lemon peels may positively affect blood sugar because they are acidic and have a lot of flavonoids. This could help control or prevent diabetes. Lemons and oranges come from the Far East. They were brought to the Mediterranean by Arabs.


Mediterranean people often squeeze lemons over salads, fish, soups, beans, and water to lower the sugar load of the whole meal. Lemon juice is an essential part of hummus. Lemon juice can be squeezed over roasted broccoli or used as all or part of the acid in a dressing.


Garlic


Garlic is integral to all Mediterranean food, but its tastes change from province to province. Tzatziki is a sauce that is used in many Eastern Mediterranean dishes. It is made from yogurt, garlic, onions, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. Garlic's strong smell and most of its health benefits, such as its anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects, come from its sulfur chemicals. To get the most out of garlic, crush or chop it and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before you use it.


Herbs


Herbs have a lot of substances that fight inflammation and free radicals, especially flavonoids. They comprise many flavonols and flavones that people eat in traditional Greek food. Each area around the Mediterranean has its flavors, but herbs and spices are essential. Add fresh plants to salads as they do in the Mediterranean to make them more antioxidant-rich. In the Mediterranean, many of the common herbs grown in North America grow wild along the roads.


Yogurt and Feta


Because cheese and yogurt have been soured for a long time, they are full of probiotics. They also add more protein to a diet primarily made up of plants. Feta cheese is not only in the standard Greek salad but is also often served with soups. 


Real Greek cheese is made from the milk of goats or sheep. Most likely, yogurt was brought to Europe by the Turks. It is more common in the eastern Mediterranean, once part of the Ottoman Empire. Greek people often eat yogurt with honey for breakfast. Most of the time, American feta is saltier and drier than feta from other countries.


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Sources:

  1. What Is the Mediterranean Diet? (everydayhealth.com)
  2. Mediterranean Diet: 8 Scientific Benefits, According to New Research (healthline.com)
  3. Key Ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet — The Nutritious Sum of Delicious Parts - Today's Dietitian Magazine (todaysdietitian.com)