Do you know you have the control and power to change the trajectory of your health and life?
If you’re looking for a way to improve your health and live longer, you might want to consider the Mediterranean diet, according to lead study author and Johns Hopkins expert Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H.
Have you ever wondered how much impact diet can have?
A Mediterranean style of eating reduced heart disease risk by 28 to 30 percent in a large 2013 study from Spain.
In 2013, a study from Spain showed that people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet have a 28 to 30 percent lower risk of heart disease. And since then, more research has shown that the same diet combined with exercise and healthy weight is even more powerful. In 2013, Johns Hopkins University researchers and others tracked 6,229 American women and men for eight years.
They found that those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet combined with regular exercise, healthy weight, and not smoking had an 80 percent lower risk for early death from heart disease than their peers.
But you don’t have to live near the Mediterranean to get the benefits.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that’s linked to better health. The goal of this diet is to help you live longer and healthier by reducing your risk for heart disease and cancer.
In 2022, the Mediterranean Diet was ranked #1 Best Plant-Based Diet, Best Heart-Healthy Diet, Best Diabetes Diet, Best Diet for Healthy Eating, and the Easiest Diet to Follow, according to U.S. News & World Report.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a style of eating that’s been around for centuries, and it’s been proven to help prevent heart disease and stroke.
The diet has its roots in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, where people ate lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts. They also consumed healthy amounts of fish and poultry. Dairy products were eaten in moderation. Olive oil was used for cooking and to dress salads or cooked vegetables. Wine was consumed with meals, but not excessively.
Interest in the diet began in the 1950s when it was noted that heart disease was not as common in Mediterranean countries as it was in the U.S. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean diet helps prevent heart disease and stroke.
With the Mediterranean diet, people typically eat three to nine servings of vegetables and up to two servings of fruit a day on a Mediterranean diet.
Foods you can eat on a Mediterranean diet include: olive oil, salmon, tuna, tomatoes, walnuts, chickpeas, pomegranate, lentils, Greek yoghurt, red wine, dark chocolate, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, barley, oats, lima beans, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, chicken breasts.
The diet emphasizes eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. It also includes fish, poultry and eggs.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and the other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The diet emphasizes plant-based foods like whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood and poultry are eaten in moderation while red meat is eaten only occasionally.
The Mediterranean diet benefits
Research has consistently shown that the Mediterranean diet is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases weight loss, and overall mortality.
Cell damage through stress and inflammation that can lead to age-related diseases has been linked to a specific part of DNA called telomeres. These structures naturally shorten with age, and their length size can predict life expectancy and the risk of developing age-related diseases. Telomeres with long lengths are considered protective against chronic diseases and earlier death, whereas short lengths increase risk. Antioxidants can help combat cell stress and preserve telomere length, such as by eating foods that contain antioxidants nutrients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
Other potential benefits of the Meditarranean diet include weight loss, reduced risk of cancer, stroke and other anti-inflammatory diseases, ease joint pain, protects the brain from declining, help stabilize blood sugar levels, and more.
What can you eat on a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a great way to eat. It’s based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
The foundation of this diet is plant-based foods like whole grains, veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood and poultry are included in moderation—red meat and sweets are eaten only occasionally.
Ideally, you should base your diet on these healthy Mediterranean foods:
Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips
Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches
Nuts and seeds: almonds and walnuts; macadamia nuts; hazelnuts; cashews; sunflower seeds; pumpkin seeds; almond butter and peanut butter
Legumes: beans and peas; lentils; pulses like chickpeas and peanuts
Whole grains: oats (or any type of whole grain); brown rice and rye are also great choices!
It’s important to note that while this is a good place to start when putting together your own diet plan based on the Mediterranean style of eating, there’s no one right way to do it—and every person will have different needs depending on their age and activity level.
When you’re eating the Mediterranean way, you can enjoy all kinds of delicious foods that are good for your health. You can get a lot of your calories from vegetables and fruits—these are low in fat and high in fiber and nutrients.
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Healthy Mediterannean Diet Recipes
You can get started with these recipes: