Are you predisposed to heart disease, diabetes, or struggling with a weight problem? Do you want to improve your energy levels to keep up with your active lifestyle? Or do you simply want to prevent disease and eat healthily, while enjoying tasty food?
Then you should know more about the Mediterranean diet and its benefits.
Good to know:
Following a Mediterranean diet, over a period of 3 months, was proven to lower cholesterol levels by 7.5%!
Why is it good for the heart?
The Mediterranean diet is high in legumes (beans, lentil and peas) which are rich in the type of fibre associated with low blood cholesterol and low rates of heart disease. Replacing meat protein in the diet with soybean protein (or any vegetable protein from legumes) lowers blood lipids, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
In addition, olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, is one of the mostly recommended types of oil for the heart as it has been shown to lower blood cholesterol level, not forgetting the beneficial effects of fish on the heart and overall health.
Why is it safe for diabetics?
Legumes are not only rich in heart-healthy fibre, but they also contain a form of starch that is slowly absorbed in the blood, helping control blood glucose levels in diabetics.
Whole grains, on which the Mediterranean diet is based, are high in fibre, which slows down the absorption and release of glucose in the blood.
Why is it recommended in weight loss programs?
Meals including legumes and whole grains (starch, protein and fibre) are carbohydrate-rich foods which provide energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre. In addition to fruits and vegetables that are full of fibre, these foods satisfy hunger for a longer duration than other meals. Most importantly, when you feel full earlier during a meal and for longer, it’s easier to resist unnecessary snacks.
Just remember to limit the oil intake to 6 teaspoons (tsp) per day or 2 tablespoons (Tbsp), knowing that 1 tsp of oil = 5 olives= 1/6 avocado (medium).
Other benefits of a Mediterranean diet:
- It includes the six food groups of the Food Guide Pyramid (grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, meat, legumes and oils)
- Offers variety, which is the foundation of getting all the nutrients that your body needs
- Lowers the risk of cancer disease, because it is rich in fibre and antioxidants
- Is ideal for athletes’ performance, because it is a healthy protein source rich in complex carbohydrates for sustained energy.