With the holiday season upon us, now is probably not the best time to be talking about eating clean and adhering to a specific diet. But if you’re already thinking about making a New Year’s resolution, consider eating like the Mediterranean do, replacing those rich meals with mostly plant-based plates.
There are so many health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, this way of eating is said to be beneficial for overall heart, bone, and brain health. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has proven that following it can lead to better weight loss results, as well as a reduced risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases.
How To Eat Mediterranean
The Mediterranean diet is both nutritious and really delicious! It consists of filling your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, lean chicken, and fish. Enjoy drinking a glass of red with your meals? No problem! Wine is regularly enjoyed but in moderation.
The key to the diet’s success seems to be the consumption of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, over saturated fats. So, replace any butter, vegetable or coconut oils you use with extra-virgin olive oil to improve your cholesterol levels. Snack on veggies and nuts throughout the day, and ditch the dessert sweets for fresh fruit.
You really can’t go wrong eating this way, and I’m a firm believer that changing how you eat also changes the way you feel on the inside.
A Longer Life
Want to live longer? A recent study finds that eating mostly plant-based meals can add years to your life. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that eating Mediterranean-style led to a 25% lower risk of death among older adults living in the Molise region of Italy.
For those who feel they’re getting a late start, researchers say choosing to follow the diet can have a positive impact, even if you’re 65 or older.
They followed the health and diets of 5,200 seniors and found a 16% lower mortality risk associated with those who enjoyed Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
While following the Mediterranean diet likely leads to a healthy body, it may also have a large role to play where mental health is concerned.
Another study shows that people who strictly follow this diet have a 33% lower risk of being diagnosed with depression compared to those who don’t.
Researchers at University College London say the risk of depression is much more likely for people who eat a lot of processed meats, trans fats, and alcohol, which are all considered high in inflammatory substances.
Never underestimate the relationship between our guts and our brains!
The Western diet, typically rich in red meat and processed foods, is bad for both the body and the environment. Scientists have found that 78% of food-related greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the production of animal products! This is mainly due to manure-related emissions and to how inefficient animals are at converting what they eat into body weight.
But research published in the journal Nature suggests that if we all adopted more plant-based diets, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the food system by more than half. The environmental impacts of fertilizers would also certainly be lessened, and a tremendous amount of water would also be saved.
From the health of our minds and bodies to the health of the planet as a whole, there are so many benefits to changing the way we fill our plates.
If eating like the Mediterranean isn’t for you, have you considered the flexitarian diet?