Olive oil, fiber, nuts, vegetables, fruit and fish are the ingredients of one of the healthiest dietary patterns in the world: the Mediterranean diet. Studies show that following a diet based on traditional Southern food model of Europe protects and reduces the risk of many diseases, especially chronic ailments such as:
Consuming olive oil and nuts in just three months decreased systolic blood pressure (high), cholesterol and triglycerides. It also increases good cholesterol (HDL), according to preliminary results of the scientific study Spanish PREDIMED (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet).
And no wonder because the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains contain large amounts of fiber, antioxidants, minerals, vegetable protein and B vitamins that protect heart health.
Type 2 Diabetes
The Mediterranean diet can also prevent type 2 diabetes. Another study, this time from the University of Naples (Italy), showed that people who follow a Mediterranean diet improves glycemic control her, in addition to reducing their cardiovascular risk.
Another proven benefits of the Mediterranean diet is the reduction of cancer risk. A study by the Medical University (Athens) finds that the traditional Mediterranean diet can reduce the occurrence of colon cancer-English-, (up to 25%), breast cancer (15%) and prostate cancer , pancreas and uterus (by 10%).
Thanks to its high fiber content and antioxidant substances called flavonoids, fruits and vegetables protect against different types of cancer (colon, stomach and lung).
The consumption of olive oil, on the unsaturated fat is also associated with the prevention of breast cancer, ovarian, colon and gastric cancer. Moreover, a high intake of nuts is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.
Other research has shown that dietary patterns that include fruits and vegetables, like the Mediterranean diet, long term can help control weight and prevent obesity.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet extend the neurological field. Another study by Spanish researchers suggests that people with depression Mediterranean incidence was up to 40% lower. The olive oil and omega-3 fats from fish might influence the neurotransmitters involved in depression (serotonin).
More vitamins and antioxidants
Moreover, the Mediterranean diet ensures a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants. According to the SUN study at the University of Navarra (Spain) people taking the Mediterranean diet reached nutritional recommendations of vitamins and minerals, while following a different power were less likely to meet appropriate levels of nutrients and more likely suffering lacks.
Another study, conducted in the Greek region of Attica, showed that people who followed the Mediterranean diet and physical activity were performed greater antioxidant capacity than those without.
Why the Mediterranean diet is healthy?
One reason why the Mediterranean diet is so beneficial to health is because it includes many plant foods such as bread, pasta, rice, vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts.
Another reason is that you use olive oil as the main source of fat for cooking and seasoning food. Recall that this ingredient is very healthy Mediterranean to contain monounsaturated fats.
It chooses a feed poultry, fish, seafood, dairy products (yogurt, cheese) and eggs as protein sources. And to a lesser amount of red meat. It also advises the consumption of wine, but most moderately and accompanying meals.
These dietary guidelines make the Mediterranean diet in a balanced diet, varied and complete from the nutritional standpoint. Its benefits are not only due to the low in saturated fat and high in healthy fats, but prioritizes complex carbohydrates and fiber, with a significant contribution of antioxidants.