If you are trying to eat healthier for yourself and perhaps your family, it’s time to take a trip to the Mediterranean. (Well, in your kitchen, at least.) Dark leafy greens, whole grains, and olive oil have long been known as part of a healthy diet. They are also key components of the Mediterranean diet.
In a Mediterranean diet, generous servings of green vegetables, whole grain, fish, nuts, and olive oil, are generally supplemented with fruit, night shade vegetables, beans, red wine, and a limited amount of red meat. You will also commonly see popular dishes such as hummus, orzo, Greek yogurt (containing limited added sugars and live, active cultures), and some cheeses. You’ll see dishes such as Caponata, Bulgher salad, stuffed grape leaves, salads, and so much more.
The benefits of a Mediterranean diet are many, as it is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing multiple diseases and conditions. Consider this:
– A Mediterranean diet is linked with as high as a 50% reduced risk of developing chronic kidney disease and a 42% reduced risk of experiencing decline in rapid kidney function. Kidney disease is becoming an epidemic, particularly among older adults and despite the treatment of risk factors.
– Children consuming a Mediterranean diet are 15% less likely to be overweight or obese children than those who do not, regardless of age, gender, region, or socioeconomic status.
Cardiovascular & Hearth Health
– New research further illuminates the heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet, tying the eating plan to lower levels of platelets and white blood cells, two markers of inflammation. Inflammation has an association with greater risk of heart attack and stroke.
– About 25% of adults around the world have metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome exists when there are three or more risk factors present, such as large waist circumference, high blood pressure, low HDL-cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides and high blood sugar concentrations. However, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts may help to reduce or even reverse Metabolic syndrome.
– Adhering to a Mediterranean diet can reduce blood pressure and protect against hypertension.
-People who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts report a lower risk of peripheral artery disease.
– Adoption of a Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower risk of diabetes, especially among people at high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to research.
– Eating Mediterranean diets, regularly engaging in physical activity and keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of a first-time stroke, experts say.
– One study of a large group of firefighters found that a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. So even those with active occupations can see results from following a Mediterranean diet.
– The combination of Mediterranean diet and increased exercise leads to improved blood flow in cells in the endothelial cells, the inner lining of the blood vessels. Researchers believe that proper endothelial function can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. One study showed that the health benefits of following a Mediterranean style diet and increasing exercise for as little as eight weeks can have positive benefits for up to a year afterwards.
– Adhering to a Mediterranean diet can slower the rate of cognitive decline among African American older adults.
– Bear with me here while I explain this one. Telomeres sit on the end of our body’s chromosomes. Their function is to stop the chromosomes from fraying and unraveling, which could unscramble the genetic codes they contain. Telomere length is an indicator of aging. A longer telomere is directly related to a longer life expectancy, while shorter telomeres are associated with shorter life expectancy and higher risk of age-related diseases. It has been found that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is significantly associated with longer telomeres, therefore relating to longer life expectancy.
Are you ready to get started on the diet that will help you stay healthier and live longer? Follow this link to several amazing recipes to help you get on your way! Be sure to check out the slow cooker caponata, baklava cookies, stuffed grape leaves, black bean hummus, roasted cauliflower with garlic and mint, veggie pizza, and Mediterranean lover’s pizza!