Should you try the Mediterranean Diet?
A diet that lowers your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and cognitive decline? We’ve got to be dreaming, right?
Turns out, there’s some promising science that the Mediterranean Diet might just be able to do all of this and more. Here’s the skinny.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Just to be clear, we’re not saying that eating nothing but garlic bread, giant bowls of pasta and hot chip-stuffed gyros is going to make you live longer.
The Mediterranean Diet we’re discussing here is based on the traditional eating habits of people from countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea – think Greece, Italy, and Spain – during the mid-20th century.
At that time, these countries displayed really low rates of chronic disease and higher-than-average adult life expectancies, despite having limited access to healthcare. Scientists thought there might be something in the food culture of these communities that was contributing to the health outcomes.
More of an eating pattern than a regimented diet plan, the Mediterranean Diet focusses on fresh, seasonal, and local foods, daily exercise, and positive food culture – sitting down for a meal, sharing food experiences with loved ones and eating mindfully.
So far, the science has pretty consistently shown that the Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and overall mortality.
One study of almost 26,000 women found the diet lowered their chance of developing cardiovascular disease by a whopping 25%!
A 2017 meta-analysis found the diet to be beneficial to the prevention of overall cancer risk, and was especially good at lowering the chance of developing colorectal, breast and liver cancers.
Science has also shown the diet may reduce your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. And while the research is young, initial studies have shown that the diet can be a boon for those who have already developed the disease.
The Mediterranean Diet has also been shown to have positive effects on ageing.
One study of more than 10,000 women found that those who followed a Mediterranean-type eating pattern were 46% more likely to age healthfully – that is, not develop any lifestyle diseases before 70 years of age.
Another study found people who follow the Mediterranean Diet tend to have longer telomeres – a part of your DNA considered protective against chronic diseases and earlier death.
Ready to give it a go?
If this sounds like something you’re keen to give a try, watch out for our next post where we break down what-to-eats and what-to-avoids of the Mediterranean Diet.