With an increased focus on holistic wellness, health enthusiasts are now turning to nutritional strategies that not only ensure sustainable weight loss but also prevent chronic diseases. It is no wonder that the Mediterranean diet, based on ancient eating habits of the Mediterranean countries, is gaining prominence, which focuses mainly on plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, chickpeas and lentils, but does not exclude animal-based edibles such as lean proteins and low-fat dairy. This low-calorie, high-fiber diet not only works wonders for preventing heart attack and stroke, but also for controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and managing blood pressure. (Also Read | Ancient Wisdom Part 13: Weight Loss to Prevent Cancer, Many Benefits of Figs)
According to the National Library of Medicine, the discovery of the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet can be attributed to American scientist Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota School of Power, who highlighted the correlation between cardiovascular disease and diet for the first time.
“The Mediterranean diet is not just a diet; it’s a way of life that revolves around fresh, healthy foods inspired by the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Sea celebrates fresh, whole foods that nourish both body and soul,” says nutritionist Vidhi Chawla, founder of Fisico Diet and Aesthetic Clinic.
The Mediterranean diet can also boost many aspects of your well-being, including digestive and mental health. People following this diet report better moods and mental health. Following this amazing diet can also reduce the risk of colon, breast, prostate, stomach, bladder, head and neck, lung and pancreatic cancer.
Mediterranean diet composition
The Mediterranean diet includes whole grains, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins such as fish, legumes, and nuts. Starting the diet can improve your health and well-being over time, says Chawla.
1. Fruits and vegetables: Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, providing essential vitamins and antioxidants.
2. Whole grains: Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat, promoting sustained energy.
3. Healthy Fats: Embrace olive oil, the cornerstone of nutrition, rich in monounsaturated fats and linked to heart health.
4. Lean proteins: Prioritize fish, poultry, legumes and nuts for protein sources, supporting muscle health.
Top nutrients you get from your diet
1. Omega-3 fatty acids: In plenty of fish, these fats promote brain health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
2. Vegetable fibers: Found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, fiber aids digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight.
3. Antioxidants: Fruits, vegetables and olive oil provide antioxidants that fight oxidative stress and inflammation.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, reduce the incidence of diabetes through balanced blood sugar levels, and prevent age-related cognitive decline, according to Chawla.
1. Heart Health: The diet is especially recommended for people with heart problems and for the prevention of cardiovascular problems. Dieters have a reduced risk of heart disease due to the emphasis on healthy fats and fish.
2. Weight Management: The diet aids in healthy weight loss thanks to its high fiber content and nutrient-dense foods.
3. Brain function: The rich nutritional profile of the diet ensures that your brain function is enhanced. Omega-3 fatty acids help improve cognitive function.
4. Prevention of diabetes: The diet’s emphasis is on whole foods and regulating blood sugar levels.
Mediterranean diet: Delicious dishes to enjoy
1. Greek salad: A refreshing mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and olives drizzled with olive oil.
2. Mediterranean chicken: Grilled chicken marinated with herbs and olive oil for a taste refresh.
3. Pasta with pesto: Whole wheat pasta with fresh basil pesto, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.