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Health Benefits of Consuming a Mediterranean Diet
Considering a new diet plan? You may want to look into the Mediterranean diet. Along with traditional food choices in most diet plans like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the Mediterranean diet also encourages healthy fats and moderate intake of wine. Research continues to support the benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular health. The Mayo Clinic shares insights on the Mediterranean diet noting, “A meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as overall mortality.”
The Mayo Clinic goes on to attribute the Mediterranean diet with reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and breast cancer. The American Heart Association also comments on health benefits of the Mediterranean diet stating, “More than half the fat calories in a Mediterranean diet come from monounsaturated fats (mainly from olive oil). Monounsaturated fat doesn't raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fat does.”
What differentiates the Mediterranean diet from other diet plans?
Consuming nutritious foods as well as healthy lifestyle choices are taken into account. Having meals with family and friends, eating healthy foods, and developing an exercise plan are highly encouraged. The Mediterranean diet introduces a holistic approach to dieting for optimal wellness and wellbeing. Healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, and nuts are used instead of butter and saturated fats. Fish and poultry are main sources of protein, while red meats are consumed less frequently (often once a month). Also, herbs and spices are used for seasoning in place of salt and food additives. Low-fat dairy foods are encouraged (in smaller portions) over fatty dairy products. Although wine is distinctive to the Mediterranean diet it is optional and recommended in moderation. The Mayo Clinic recommends no more than 5 oz. of wine a day for women (or men over 65 years of age) and no more than 10 oz. for men under 65 years of age.
Before initiating or changing your diet consult with your physician to determine which diet plan is most suitable for your health needs. Your physician and nutritionist can assist in developing a meal plan that supports your individual health and accommodates lifestyle preferences.
* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.