Mediterranean diet is a type of eating pattern that is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oil. It is also low in red meat and dairy products. The diet first appeared in the 1920s among the peasants living on the Greek Island of Crete who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while they were cultivating olive trees.
Benefits of Mediterranean diet
1. Increase in good cholesterol
The Mediterranean diet consists of foods that are high in unsaturated fat. These foods include nuts and olive oil. Unsaturated fat is believed to raise good cholesterol while lowering the level of bad cholesterol. In a study conducted on 160 subjects the participants were split into two groups. One group was given a Mediterranean diet while the other group had ordinary diet.
2. Good for heart health
In addition to raising good cholesterol, unsaturated fats also lower levels of bad cholesterol in blood stream. Thus, the Mediterranean diet is also good for heart health. It has been shown that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have less risk of dying from heart diseases when compared to those who do not follow this eating pattern.
3. Lowering blood pressure
The Mediterranean diet consists of foods that are rich in unsaturated fats and therefore lowers blood pressure. Studies have shown that in people who consume a high sodium and saturated fat diet, the level of blood pressure increases. Whereas, in patients consuming low sodium and unsaturated fat diet, the levels of blood pressure were found to be low.
4. Prevents cancer
In a study which followed a group of 3,000 participants, it was revealed that those who followed Mediterranean diet were less likely to die of cancer. The consumption of foods rich in unsaturated fat is believed to help prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells in the body. The unsaturated fats also help prevent cholesterol from clogging the heart’s blood vessels and increasing levels of bad cholesterol.