- Mediterranean diet is great for your physical and mental health
- It encourages you to eat whole grains, healthy fats, nut and seeds
- This helps in decreasing the risk of heart trouble, diabetes and obesity
What makes it so healthy? A typical Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds for protein and along with this you need to limit intake of refined carbohydrates and processed sugar. This is the traditional dietary pattern followed in Mediterranean countries like Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece and parts of the Middle East.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Navarra and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, proves that following a Mediterranean diet is probably the easiest way to improve your health and overall well-being and increase your longevity.
For the study, researchers followed 11,000 students over period of four years and asked them to provide information about their daily dietary intake at the beginning of the study. Self-perceived quality of life was measured after the four year monitoring period with the help of a questionnaire. The consumption of fish, fruit, pulses, nuts, cereals, and vegetables was positively valued while the consumption of meat, alcohol, and dairy products was negatively valued.
The findings showed that people who stuck to the Mediterranean diet had better physical and mental well-being and significantly better physical quality of life. As per the Mediterranean diet, your main meals should consist of the three basic elements - cereals, fruits and vegetables and dairy products. Besides this, proteins are obtained from fish and eggs and unhealthy fats are replaced with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from olive oil. The topmost rung of the food pyramid, in case of a Mediterranean diet, consists of sugary foods, processed food and red meat. Good quality red wine can be consumed occasionally but in small quantities.
The benefits of a Mediterranean diet are derived from the ingredients used that are full of fiber, rich in proteins and good fats and seasonal - all these qualities have a positive effect as your daily diet can play a critical role in maintaining overall health and well-being.