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Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Fancy Tipple

The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes values of hospitality, intercultural dialogue and a way of life guided by respect for nature. It includes the craftsmanship and production of traditional processes and methods for cultivation, transport, preservation and consumption of food, including ceramic plates and glasses. A diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.

The Mediterranean diet is associated with lower all-cause mortality and morbidity (disease occurrence), and has been linked to numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of cancer, cognitive disease and cardiovascular disease as well as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (WHO, 2018)

Thus, the diet refers to the traditional food cultures of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, Morocco, Portugal, Egypt and Lebanon. Staples of the Mediterranean diet include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts and legumes, and olive oil.

What re The Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

  1. Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts, may reduce the risk of stroke by 30%.
  2. Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. A Mediterranean diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Decreased risk of premature death. Telomeres are a part of DNA that can help predict life expectancy. Longer length telomeres {a good thing!} have been found in healthy middle-aged women who closely follow a Mediterranean diet.
  4. Better cognition & brain health. Although the research in this area is preliminary, there is good evidence that a MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, can boost brain health & reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 53%.