The scientific research pointing towards the Mediterranean diet being one of the healthiest around the world is only piling up.
As many diet fads come and go, there’s one diet that’s been a staple among a large group of people for decades, if not centuries. And luckily for those searching for the secret to sustaining a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be happy to know that this eating regime doesn’t involve exiling one food group completely or taking your eating habits to new extremes.
According to study after study, it appears the Meditteranean diet is proving itself as a worthy contender for helping us to lead long and healthy lives.
In an age where diets – for weight control to environmental reasons – range from extremes such veganism to keto diets, it’s interesting to see a more ‘balanced’ offering take a seat at the top table.
As another research project shines a line on its benefits, here’s just a few of the highlights.
A research project conducted by Saint Louis University and released in March 2019 has shown that a Mediterranean diet – which largely consists of whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil and whole grains, and limited red and processed meats, dairy, trans and saturated fats and refined sugars – can improve athletes’ endurance exercise performance.
In fact, after just four days, runners eating such a diet overall typical Western diet – consisting of a low intake of fruit, vegetables and unrefined or minimally processed oils and high intakes of trans and saturated fats, dairy, refined sugars, refined and highly processed vegetable oils, sodium and processed foods – ran six per cent faster over a 5k race. Researchers found no difference between the two diets in performance in anaerobic exercise tests.
In 2017, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a report proclaiming that eating foods that are generally included in such a diet, is linked to a lower risk for memory struggles in older age. The analysis was found after researchers studied both the diets and cognitive abilities – such as memory and attention skills – on near to 6,00 older adults.
A study published in Neurology claimed that older people who generally stuck to a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not follow the diet as closely. The conclusion was attained after researchers recorded the eating habits of over 900 Scottish people in their seventies who didn’t have dementia. Of those, 562 underwent brain scans to compare the results.
Study author Michelle Luciano said: “As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory… This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.”
In 2018, researchers at the University of East Anglia in the UK wrote a paper on their findings when studying the diet. They found this nutrient-rich diet could reduce bone loss in osteoporosis. The trial looked at over 1,000 participants between the age of 65 and 79 took part in the trial, and it concluded that after 12 months, bone density increased in those
More than 1,000 people aged between 65 and 79 took part in the trial, and volunteers were randomised into two groups — one which followed a Mediterranean diet and a control group which did not. Bone density was measured at the start and after 12 months.