We live in a highly competitive world. A lot of things can now be done at the click of a mouse. We are so conditioned to get things done fast that even when it comes to our food, we rarely look at its nutritional value anymore. So, it is no wonder why our diet today relies heavily on a lot of red meat and processed food; both of which are available anywhere. Researchers have said that this dependence on red meat and processed food is one of the leading causes of heart ailments.
But people want to live longer; so we are finding better ways to meet the demands of our fast-paced lifestyle while eating the right types of that our bodies need.
Mediterranean diet is one such way to meet the so-called standards of modern day diet: fast but healthy. This diet is characterized by the consumption of fruit (especially tomatoes), vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in high amounts. This diet should not be confused with the vegetarian diet since Mediterranean diet may also include fish.
Below is a list of just a few of the main ingredients found in a Mediterranean diet and its respective benefits for the body:
Omega 3 fatty acid
Though the name – Fatty acid – does not sound like it, Omega 3 is perhaps one of the most well known nutrients that help protect the heart. Omega 3-rich foods include fish and eggs. Aside from treating and preventing heart ailments, this fatty acid is also important in the maintenance of brain health, prevention of cancer, and the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Antioxidants like lycopene and beta carotene, found in tomatoes and carrots respectively, help neutralize the infamous cancer component: free radicals.
Antioxidants are also significantly useful in the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. When the body’s insulin receptors or the insulin itself that is produced by the pancreas is damaged or abnormal, the cells cannot properly deal with the sugar that enters the bloodstream. Hence, blood sugar levels will rise until it develops to the condition known as diabetes. Because of this, the pancreas will continue to produce the abnormal insulin in an attempt to fix the condition until the body develops what experts call as insulin resistance. Oftentimes, the development of this kind of resistance is hastened by oxidative stress which is usually caused by free radicals.
Our body acts like a well-oiled machine. Like any machine, it consumes a lot of energy in order to function properly. We get most of this energy from the fat in our diet. The Mediterranean diet provides us with an ideal amount of fat; not just any fat: unsaturated fat which has been called as the “good” fat. Our body still gets the energy it needs without sacrificing the health of its organs that are considered vulnerable to the amount of “bad” fat in the system.
Maximize Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Experts have said that the health benefits that a person may get from any type of diet are augmented by a healthy way of living. So it makes sense that the Mediterranean diet would not be as effective as we would like it to be in keeping our bodies healthy if we do not include any kind of physical activity. Like any type of diet, Mediterranean diet is best when all the nutrients and substances that go in our body are used properly and efficiently. So, in order to maximize the benefits of this diet, it is highly recommend that you exercise regularly. After all, the ancient Mediterranean people who originated this diet had to work actively outside their homes and were exposed to the vitamin D-rich sunshine in order to achieve their healthy bodies.