Switching to a Mediterranean Diet Brings Numerous Health Benefits

Tuesday, 6 October 2009  |  Admin

The Mediterranean Diet Defined

The Mediterranean diet features a high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil, a high intake of fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, cereals and fish, a moderate intake of alcohol and dairy products, and a low intake of red meat. Overall, the diet provides a total fat content of 25% to 35%, with an unusually low intake of saturated fat that accounts for 8% or less of energy intake .

Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes – May Be Reduced With Mediterranean Diet

This way of eating was previously found to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes, but latest research suggest it can also benefit the brain. People eating a Mediterranean-style diet are 26% less likely to develop depression than those eating a more typical Western diet. It also slows the onset of age-related cognitive decline (the ability to think straight) and, when combined with regular exercise may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe that the combination of omega-3 fish oils, monounsaturated fats (omega-9s) have a beneficial effect on brain neurotransmitters. 

Eczema in Children – Lower In Mediterranean Area

What is less well known is that the Mediterranean way of eating - full of anti-inflammatory fish oils, monounsaturates and antioxidants - is also good for the skin. As a result, around 1 in 5 children throughout Northern Europe suffer from atopic eczema, compared with just 1 in 20 in Mediterranean countries. It may also protect against the development of melanoma - a highly malignant form of skin cancer.

Live Longer with the Mediterranean Diet

In fact, following a Mediterranean diet is so good for general health that it appears to prolong life. When researchers looked at studies investigating high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and obesity, they found that people who reported eating foods consistent with the Mediterranean diet were 10% to 20% less likely to die over the course of these studies, from any cause, than those who did not follow this way of eating .

A Diet Good for Your Health & Your Skin

To obtain the skin and other health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, aim to eat more:

  • fruit, vegetables and beans
  • nuts and seeds
  • wholegrain cereals/bread
  • olive oil
  • fish

In addition, eat low to moderate amounts of dairy products and poultry, have only a little red meat, eat eggs four times a week (or less), and consume wine in low to moderate amounts.