Jul 20, 2023
Is the Mediterranean Diet Legit?
Few diets have the staying power of the Mediterranean diet. Can going Mediterranean help you lose weight and feel as amazing as fans claim?
Does the Mediterranean Diet Work?
The biggest question people have is whether the Mediterranean diet really helps your health. The answer is a resounding “yes!” This is backed up by extensive scientific research.
In one landmark study, women who followed a Mediterranean diet for 12 years were 25% less likely to have heart disease. That’s a huge difference.
Another incredible study showed that eating Mediterranean helped people enjoy healthier aging. Women who followed this diet were almost 50% more likely to live past age 70 with zero chronic health problems — no kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or cancer.
Amazing Benefits for Overall Health and Inflammation
Living longer is far from the only benefit of Mediterranean cuisine. Following this diet can help your body and mind (and Italians would say your heart, too):
- Reduced inflammation and pain
- Stronger muscles as you age
- Improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Better protection against toxins and UV rays
- Less depression and anxiety
- Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Lower risk of stroke
- Healthier weight
What Does the Mediterranean Diet Include?
The next question is whether you can realistically follow this lifestyle consistently. If you enjoy fresh, natural foods, you will probably love this diet. Here’s your main grocery list:
- Fresh veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, etc.
- Nutritious legumes: Peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Delicious fruits: Grapes, figs, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, apples, pears, bananas, melons, etc.
- Unsalted nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, nut butters, etc.
- Healthful fish and seafood: Tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, mussels, oysters, shrimp, etc.
- Positive fats: Green olives, black olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocados and avocado oil
- Natural dairy products: Unsweetened yogurt, Greek yogurt, milk and low-sodium cheeses
- Fiber-rich whole grains: Corn, oats, rye, brown rice, barley and whole wheat, including whole wheat pasta and bread
Lots of herbs and spices: Basil, rosemary, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, peppers, etc.
The Spirit of Mediterranean Eating in Other Recipes
It’s OK to put your personal touch on the menu as long as you keep saturated fats and sweets to a minimum. There’s nothing wrong with chicken or turkey several times a week. You can even have red meat from time to time, though you should avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Also, you don’t have to stick to a cookbook with only Italian, Greek or Spanish cooking. Feel free to mix things up with Moroccan food, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, SoCal and similar healthy recipes.
Does the Mediterranean Diet Help You Lose Weight?
The answer to this question is tricky. When you follow a Mediterranean lifestyle, you’re not cutting total calories as much as choosing healthier calories. That means that you’re probably not going to see massive drops in weight immediately.
Where this diet really shines is in keeping weight off. As you start to lose five pounds, then 10, 20, etc., the weight stays gone for good. Avoiding sugary and processed foods can help you enjoy a slimmer waistline.
The best part of a Mediterranean lifestyle is that you don’t just look better. You feel amazing, too, especially if you follow the Italian tradition of eating meals surrounded by people you love.