A diet? More likely a way of life – THE right way of life. Many studies suggest and provide evidence on the beneficial properties of a Mediterranean diet. At the Harokopio University in Athens, scientists have come to the discovery that the benefits that this diet brings are better than exercising on a daily basis. These results are the same regardless of age and gender of the participants in the study.
Ekavi Georgousopoulou and Prof. Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos (the people who conducted the research) concluded that the Mediterranean diet benefits all people – no matter the age, gender or state of health. The results they obtained showed that this diet directly benefits the heart, while it indirectly helps in dealing with diabetes, hypertension and inflammation. Additionally, a Mediterranean diet is good for weight loss as well, and it is a powerful aid in the fight against obesity.
Is a Mediterranean diet expensive?
A Mediterranean diet puts the focus on eating nutritious, healthy foods which are very easy to find and not much more expensive than the foods you used to buy, so changing your lifestyle towards this should not be a problem. And by doing so, you would protect yourself from heart disease.
In the previously mentioned study more than 2,500 Greek people between the ages of 18 and 89 participated and their health was monitored from 2001 to 2012. During that time, almost 20% of male and around 12% of female participants developed heart disease or died from it. On the other hand, those participants who followed a Mediterranean diet turned out to be at a 47% decreased risk of developing heart disease compared to those who didn’t eat this way. This percentage didn’t differ when parameters such as age and gender were changed.
Ok, but what exactly is a Mediterranean diet?
This diet sticks to the common knowledge that fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains are healthy and should be eaten, while unhealthy fats should be avoided and limited when consumed. It is basically a healthy eating plan enriched with olive oil with an occasional glass of red wine. However, it adds a twist – there are portion control rules when it comes to this diet – and this is exactly what makes this diet beneficial when it comes to preventing heart disease.
The study we mentioned earlier showed that older people with diabetes or some measure of inflammation are at a greater risk of developing heart disease. But, regardless, a Mediterranean diet can help any person significantly decrease that risk.
The study also showed that women had less trouble adjusting to the new way of life and nutritional habits that this diet introduced, while men proved to be less adaptable and willing to change their habits. The lead researchers also pointed out that, even though Greece is located in the Mediterranean, not so many Greeks eat the traditional Mediterranean food. Many of them have actually gotten used to eating heavier versions of food, red meat (in larger amounts than recommended), a lot of sugar (deserts and sugary drinks), white bread and pastries and fatty foods. With this lifestyle, no wonder there are so many heart attacks and heart diseases (besides other types of disease).
People in the U.S. are not much different from the Greeks in this matter. They are used to eating fatty, sugary foods high in carbohydrates, and then they wonder why they get sick so often and why their health deteriorates so easily. Adopting the ways of eating that a Mediterranean diet offers can significantly lower the health risks, not only for heart disease, but for diabetes, obesity, hypertension and many other health conditions that can be caused by unhealthy nutrition. Committing to a healthier lifestyle can prolong your life and help you stay healthy as long as possible. So why not give it a try?