Get Healthy and Maintain Normal Weight
People generally diet to lose weight, and there are a number of diets that come in and out of vogue. However, some diets have actual staying power, and one of these diets is the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet provides the body with healthy foods that can support a lean body mass, but research has also shown that the Mediterranean diet can also be beneficial for the cardiovascular system. If you’re battling poor cardiovascular health, or just trying to maintain healthy cardiovascular function, you should read on.
Mediterranean Diet: The Basics
The Mediterranean diet is not just a normal fad diet. For those that live around the Mediterranean Sea it is a way of life. The Mediterranean population generally experiences superior cardiovascular health, and their diet, which is made up of very few processed foods plays a huge role in this. The Mediterranean diet provides the body with fresh foods, like vegetables and fruits, and lean protein, like legumes, nuts, chicken, and seafood. In fact, there is very little red meat consumed in this region. There is also a lot of olive oil used, and a lack of processed sugar and carbohydrates. Red wine is also frequently consumed, and when drank in moderation it can be a great source of antioxidants.
One study conducted in Spain during the mid 2000s actually ended early because researchers believed its results to be so obvious. Researchers gathered about 7500 participants that were at risk for heart attack or stroke. These subjects were people that were already on medications for high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetics, or smokers, and they were between the ages of 55 and 80. The subjects were broken up into three groups. One consumed what would be considered a low fat American diet, which was certainly a healthy diet, but didn’t focus on the foods found in the Mediterranean diet. Another consumed the Mediterranean diet with a focus on olive oil, and the other at a Mediterranean diet that had more nuts than usual.
All groups were closely monitored, and this was beyond just taking the occasional survey. The subjects’ blood and urine was tested to make sure that they were abiding by their given diet, and it was found that those who consumed either of the Mediterranean diets experienced a reduced risk of heart attack or stroke by approximately 30 percent.
Why Is This Diet So Beneficial?
The lack of processed foods makes the Mediterranean diet a wonderful alternative to standard American diets. It provides the body with lean foods that can help with weight loss, and it is also rich in nutrients that are beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Red wine provides the body with resveratrol. Resveratrol supplies the body with antioxidants, and it can also help to promote healthy cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean diet also has larger amounts of olive oil than other diets. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which can be beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Olive oil may help to maintain healthy cholesterol, because it contains antioxidants that fight the oxidation of LDL. It may also be helpful for blood pressure. Studies have shown that it can help to lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure, and this is because olive oil promotes the health of the vascular cells.
If you’ve been looking for a way to lose weight or improve your cardiovascular health, the Mediterranean diet could be a good place to start. It allows you to continue to eat delicious foods that are fresh and unprocessed. It is an easy diet to jump into, and it can have a number of cardiovascular benefits. For more information on eating properly, check out our article on Diet Tips to Avoid.