More Good News About the Mediterranean Diet! | Personal Training Bellevue

The Mediterranean diet has already established a rep as being the high fat, plant based diet responsible for improved health outcomes, such as weight loss, cancer prevention and brain health.  As scientists continue to study this eating lifestyle, even more positive benefits emerge.

The heart healthy nature of this eating, due to the high consumption of good fats from olives, olive oil, avocados and fatty fish, runs counter to the American way of thinking and eating. Olives, in particular, have high levels of antioxidants, which strengthen blood vessels, improve blood flow, and improve blood cholesterol levels.  In a nutshell, eating high levels of good fats helps prevent  heart attacks!

As I tell my clients, we must eat fat to loose fat!  Research shows quite clearly that a high fat Mediterranean Diet can not only help folks loose weight, but it can also help prevent future weight gain!  Olives and olive oil are particularly helpful in preventing abdominal weight gain, as visceral fat (surrounding abdominal organs) creates many different diseases. 

Fatty fish, nuts and beans, other key components of this eating, also are key in reducing inflammation (related to obesity) that results in chronic pain. 

A host of other health conditions are also positively impacted by the MD:   This eating has been shown to reduce brain shrinkage associated with age related cognitive decline! It also is helpful with diabetes, bone health, sperm quality and fertility.  In post-menopausal women, breast cancer was 40% less prevalent!

Italy and Greece are known for their consumption of the Mediterranean Diet, and also known for their longevity.  In fact, if you are a baby born in Italy, you can expect to live to be an octogenarian!  Sadly, as the US is one of the heaviest nations in the world, we rank 34 amongst all the nations in the world.  

The most fascinating new finding about food and lifestyles in Italy and Greece show that the MD is part of an overall lifestyle where ‘food practices are integrated into the culture’: the Mediterranean lifestyle includes working outside, social interactions, communal meals, moderate alcohol consumption and a deep appreciation of local foods.  In fact, eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the the Mediterranean region. In the US we use the word diet to indicate a restrictive eating pattern. In fact, the word diet comes from the Greek word ‘diata’, which means ‘way of life.’  It seems we have much to learn from the Mediterranean people, especially if we desire improved health!

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