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The benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet on health and longevity

Team AckoApr 6, 2023

There is growing evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet can have tremendous positive benefits for people’s health, and even increase their lifespan. The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries in the Mediterranean region, such as Greece, Spain, Italy, and parts of the Middle East. This diet generally consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, as well as certain types of seafood. This diet has been traditionally associated with a lower risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as other chronic conditions.

Contents

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The Health Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

The potential health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet are numerous. According to several scientific studies, people who follow this type of diet may experience reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer. It is also believed that the Mediterranean diet may improve bone health, reduce inflammation, and speed up recovery from injury. Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet has been found to be beneficial for people suffering from mental health issues, such as depression.

In addition to these possible health benefits, people who adhere to the Mediterranean diet have also been shown to have a longer life expectancy than those who don’t. In fact, some scientific studies have found that people who regularly consume this type of diet, may even live between seven to 11 years longer than their counterparts who don’t follow such dietary habits. So, it is clear that the Mediterranean diet has more to offer than just good tasting food.

The Main Components of a Mediterranean Diet

A Mediterranean style diet typically consists of other components such as low-fat dairy products like yoghurt, cheese and milk, fish and poultry, nuts, legumes and eggs. Vegetables, such as tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions, as well as fruits such as oranges, apples, and bananas, have also been included. Additionally, whole grains such as barley, oats, and rice, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil, and plant-based fats such as avocados and olives are staples of the Mediterranean diet.

Red meat and processed foods are generally not included in the Mediterranean style diet, although it is important to note that olive oil, which is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, should be used sparingly. Additionally, it is important to focus on eating whole grains and other unrefined carbohydrates as opposed to refined and processed carbohydrates. All of these foods contribute to a balanced diet that is high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that help to keep us healthy.

Eating a Mediterranean Diet on a Budget

Many people wonder if they can eat a Mediterranean style diet on a budget, as it can often be pricier than a typical western style diet. The good news is that it is perfectly possible to eat a Mediterranean style diet on a budget. The key is in sticking to mostly whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and using a limited amount of healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil and nuts. Additionally, for those on a budget, it may be beneficial to look for seasonal fruits and vegetables, as these are generally cheaper than those out of season. Other factors, such as frozen vegetables and legumes such as beans and lentils, can also help to reduce costs.

Cooking a Mediterranean Diet

Another potential area of concern when eating a Mediterranean style diet is in the preparation and cooking of meals. Fortunately, the Mediterranean diet can be relatively easy to prepare, as many of the main ingredients either require no cooking (for example, fresh vegetables and fruits) or require minimal cooking (for example, healthy grains, legumes, and fish). Additionally, some types of seafood, such as shrimp and squid, can be cooked quickly in just a few minutes. The key is to focus on simple meals and utilise seasonings such as herbs and spices to add flavour without adding unnecessary calories.

Furthermore, cooking a Mediterranean style meal can also be a great way to increase your vegetable intake, as many vegetables can be prepared and cooked quickly. For example, certain vegetables can be sizzled in a pan for just a few minutes, or even just baked in an oven for a few minutes. Additionally, canned or frozen vegetables can also be used, which are not only easy to prepare but are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts.

Practical Tips for Eating a Mediterranean Style Diet

One of the most important tips for eating a Mediterranean style diet is to ensure that it is balanced and contains a variety of foods. This means that while it is important to load up on fruits and vegetables, it is also important to include a wide range of whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts, and healthy fats. Additionally, alternative sources of protein, such as beans, tofu, and tempeh are also great options. Also, while it is important to enjoy the occasional dessert, it is important to keep these treats limited.

Conclusion

The Mediterranean diet has long been touted for its potential health benefits, and recent scientific evidence has further supported these positive impacts. The Mediterranean diet typically consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, as well as certain types of seafood. Potential health benefits linked to the Mediterranean diet include a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancer, and people who follow this type of diet may even see an increase in their life expectancy.

In addition to this, people who adhere to the Mediterranean diet can also enjoy the benefits of eating on a budget and preparing fast and simple meals. Overall, the Mediterranean diet provides a variety of health benefits, and is also a great way to save money and enjoy delicious meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions about the benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet on health and longevity

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What are the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

The potential health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet are numerous. According to several scientific studies, people who follow this type of diet may experience reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer. It is also believed that the Mediterranean diet may improve bone health, reduce inflammation, and speed up recovery from injury. Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet has been found to be beneficial for people suffering from mental health issues, such as depression.

How much longer can I expect to live if I eat the Mediterranean diet?

People who regularly consume this type of diet may live between seven to eleven years longer than their counterparts who don’t follow such dietary habits. So, it is clear that the Mediterranean diet has more to offer than just good tasting food.

What type of food should I include in my Mediterranean diet?

A Mediterranean style diet typically consists of other components such as low-fat dairy products like yoghurt, cheese and milk, fish and poultry, nuts, legumes and eggs. Vegetables, such as tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions, as well as fruits such as oranges, apples, and bananas, have also been included. Additionally, whole grains such as barley, oats, and rice, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil, and plant-based fats such as avocados and olives are staples of the Mediterranean diet.

Can I eat a Mediterranean diet on a budget?

Yes, it is perfectly possible to eat a Mediterranean style diet on a budget. The key is in sticking to mostly whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and using a limited amount of healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil and nuts. Additionally, for those on a budget, it may be beneficial to look for seasonal fruits and vegetables, as these are generally cheaper than those out of season. Other factors, such as frozen vegetables and legumes such as beans and lentils, can also help to reduce costs.

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