What is mediterranean diet? Benefits from weight loss to heart attack prevention | Health

With increased focus on holistic wellness, health enthusiasts are now turning to nutrition strategies that not only ensure sustainable weight loss but also chronic disease prevention. No wonder, mediterranean diet based on age-old eating patterns of mediterranean countries, is gaining prominence, which primarily focusses on plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, chickpeas and lentils, but doesn’t exclude animal-based eatables like lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods. This low-calorie and high-fibre diet not only works wonders for preventing heart attack and stroke but also control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and blood pressure management. (Also read | Ancient Wisdom Part 13: Weight loss to preventing cancer; many benefits of figs)

The Mediterranean diet is not just a diet; it’s a lifestyle that revolves around fresh, wholesome foods inspired by the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea(Freepik)

According to National Library of Medicine, the discovery of the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet can be attributed to the American scientist Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota School of Power, who highlighted the correlation between cardiovascular disease and diet for the first time.

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“The Mediterranean diet is not just a diet; it’s a lifestyle that revolves around fresh, wholesome foods inspired by the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The centuries-old eating pattern inspired by the traditional culinary habits of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea celebrates fresh, whole foods that nurture both the body and the soul,” says Nutritionist Vidhi Chawla, founder of Fisico Diet and Aesthetic Clinic.

Mediterranean diet can also boost many aspects of your wellness including digestive and mental health. People on this diet report better moods and mental health. Following this amazing diet can also help lower risk of bowel, breast, prostate, stomach, bladder, head and neck, lung and pancreatic cancer.

Composition of mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diet comprises of whole grains, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins like fish, legumes and nuts. Starting the diet can improve your health and wellness over a period of time, says Chawla.

1. Fruits and vegetables: Fill your plate with colourful fruits and veggies, providing essential vitamins and antioxidants.

2. Whole grains: Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat, promoting sustained energy.

3. Healthy fats: Embrace olive oil, a cornerstone of the diet, rich in monounsaturated fats and linked to heart health.

4. Lean proteins: Prioritise fish, poultry, legumes, and nuts for protein sources, supporting muscle health.

Top nutrients that you get from the diet

1. Omega-3 fatty acids: Abundant in fish, these fats promote brain health and lower the risk of heart disease.

2. Fibre: Found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, fibre aids digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight.

3. Antioxidants: Fruits, vegetables, and olive oil provide antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and inflammation.

Benefits of Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diet can help reduce risk of heart attacks and strokes, lower incidence of diabetes due to balanced blood sugar levels and prevent age-related cognitive decline, according to Chawla.

1. Heart health: The diet is highly recommended to people with heart issues and for preventing cardiovascular issues. People following the diet have reduced risk of heart disease due to the emphasis on healthy fats and fish.

2. Weight management: The diet aids healthy weight loss courtesy its high fibre content and nutrient-dense foods.

3. Brain function: The rich nutritional profile of the diet ensures your brain function is boosted. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to improved cognitive function.

4. Diabetes prevention: The diet’s emphasis is on whole foods and blood sugar levels regulation.

Mediterranean diet: Delicious dishes to enjoy

1. Greek salad: A refreshing mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and olives drizzled with olive oil.

2. Mediterranean chicken: Grilled chicken marinated in herbs and olive oil for a flavourful twist.

3. Pasta with pesto: Whole-grain pasta tossed with fresh basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, and pine nuts.

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