As I was scanning the morning health news, like I always do every morning, I came across another positive article supporting the Mediterranean Diet. This new research, coming to us from the online European Respiratory Journal , by researchers from the University of Crete in Greece, focused on a sleep condition commonly found in obese individuals called Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). Sleep apnea is a disorder of the normal sleep pattern associated with pauses in breathing. The study found that obese subjects that followed a Mediterranean diet, had more motivation to stay on the diet, more enthusiasm to follow an exercise plan and a decrease in the episodes of the OSAS.
So why is this diet so good for us? Let’s examine it a bit more closely. The Mediterranean diet, took its name from the foods and diet that was being followed by the residents of Southern Italy, mainland Greece and the island of Crete in the 1960’s. This plant based diet is composed of lots of olive oil/olives, fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains (cereals and breads), beans, dairy in the form of yogurts and cheese, tree nuts, but no BUTTER. Also there is a moderate consumption of fish and poultry, low to moderate consumption of eggs and a low consumption of red meat. Moderate alcohol intake, optional to the diet, is an additional beverage added to meals. Regular outdoor activities and exercise is also a vital component of the healthy lifestyle.
So why should I follow the Mediterranean diet? How does it help me?
Well, in review of many studies on the Mediterranean diet, here is a partial list of the benefits:
- Decreased mortality from all causes
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk of obesity
- Reduces risk of developing lung disease
- Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (mild cognitive impairment)
- Reduce risk of developing inflammation
- Reduce risk of developing Parkinson’s
- Reduction in episodes of sleep apnea (see above OSAS)
- Positive effect on lipid levels (levels of fat in your blood stream)
- Positive effect on control of glucose (sugar) in your body
- Positive effect on blood pressure
Isn’t that enough? The Mediterranean diet is a lower saturated fat nutritional plan and the fats are mostly monounsaturated. Research studies have indicated many heart and health benefits from the consumption of plant based foods.
So there it is my friends, part one of why you should consider switching to the Mediterranean diet plan. There are no other diets that have the plethora of health benefits! Opa!
- European Lung Foundation (2011, November 2). Mediterranean diet and exercise can reduce sleep apnea symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/11/111102093043.htm