It’s considered to be one of the healthiest diets in the world and to top it off, the Mediterranean Diet is actually good for optimal heart health. Here Prof. Daniele Del Rio, Head of the School of Advanced Studies on Food and Nutrition at the University of Parma in Italy unravels the facts about this diet.
The Essentials of the Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet is comprised of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as well as healthy fats—such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds, and fresh fish. The intake of other fats, like butter, refined grains, meat, and dairy products should be reduced.
It places a strong emphasis on colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables, and is high in many phytochemicals (like polyphenols) that is endorsed with the many demonstrated beneficial effects for human health. It’s also packed with fiber, known for keeping you full and to prevent several chronic diseases.
Optimal Heart Health
The foods that are typical in a Mediterranean diet – fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and extra virgin olive oil – have shown the capacity to keep inflammation under control in your body, and to keep blood vessels in good shape. However, a lot of research is still on-going to discover all the mechanisms that lie beneath this very healthy dietary approach. A key component to this cardioprotection is the richness in mono-and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels. However, once again, it’s the whole dietary approach that makes the difference.
A Holistic Approach
Although the word ‘diet’ is in the name, it’s a much more holistic approach to eating that relies on real food and ingredients. You won’t feel deprived following the Mediterranean Diet as you might with other ‘diets’, and it’s ideal to be adopted long-term as part of a healthy lifestyle.