You might have heard of the Mediterranean diet, as it’s been known for its health—and weight loss!—benefits for years. But it turns out it may be even better for us than researchers originally thought. Not only can it reduce your odds of developing certain diseases, such as heart problems and diabetes, but it can also increase your life expectancy. So if you haven’t tried the Mediterranean diet, it might be worth a shot now, right? Here’s what you need to know about how this diet just might help you live longer.
If you’re interested in eating better, check out the advice here: National Nutrition Month: An Interview with Danielle Omar, RD and Cal-EZ Nutritionist
What’s the Mediterranean Diet?
This diet hails from various countries whose coasts touch the Mediterranean Sea. So it’s been a staple in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and the countries of Northern Africa. Basically, the people who follow this diet try to eat a lot of organic vegetables and fruits. They also eat lots of whole grains, legumes, and fish, and they use olive oil whenever possible. Plus, they consume dairy—especially yogurt and cheese—in moderate amounts. Wine is another staple of this diet, as it’s moderately consumed by people who follow it.
So what don’t you eat when you’re following the Mediterranean diet? You’re supposed to eat chicken in moderation and red meat only rarely, and you should stay away from processed meat completely. You should also avoid anything with added sugar, from ice cream and baked goods to soda and candy. Margarine, white bread, pasta, soybean oil, and canola oil are also off limits on this diet. If you can follow these guidelines, you may be able to live longer, according to researchers familiar with this diet.
Here’s a good reason to avoid sugar, whether you try the Mediterranean diet or not: Sugar Is the New Fat
What Are the Health Benefits of the Diet?
It’s long been known that the Mediterranean diet could provide some major health benefits. For example, it can improve your cardiovascular health, reducing the chance of heart problems. It can also reduce your chance of developing type-2 diabetes. Basically, it’s good for reducing your odds of suffering from obesity-related diseases, so if these are a concern for you, it may be time to try this diet.
But now researchers have seen evidence that the Mediterranean diet may help you live longer. The Lancet Medical Journal just published a prediction that by 2040, Spain will be the country that has the longest life expectancy, since people who live there will live an average of 85.8 years…and they happen to mostly follow the Mediterranean diet! That’s why researchers suggest that the longer life expectancy is likely tied to this diet.
And that makes sense, considering that the US is nowhere near the top of the list when it comes to life expectancy. In this country, the typical diet tends to include lots of added sugar and processed foods, plus a lot of tobacco and alcohol use. These issues can all lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, periodontal disease, and high blood sugar. You can typically avoid these problems by having a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
It doesn’t take long to start seeing the health benefits of this diet. You can start it at any age and begin noticing a difference in how you feel, so it comes as no surprise that it may help you live longer. And as long as you don’t have a medical condition that calls for you to eat or avoid specific foods, you have nothing to lose when you try the Mediterranean diet!
If you’re worried about eating better without spending too much money, you need these tips: 7 Strategies for Eating Healthy on a Budget