There are hundreds of diets out there that specifically cater to individuals who wish to adopt a healthier lifestyle, but not all of them have been extensively studied and proven to be beneficial, and not all of them are filling and delicious, either. However, one diet has become more and more popular with health enthusiasts to the point that it’s been ranked as the Number 1 diet (out of 41) by the U.S. News & World Report in 2019: the Mediterranean Diet. Apart from being well-balanced and genuinely delicious (with a wide range of food and flavors to boot), the Mediterranean diet also boasts numerous proven health benefits.
So, if you’re a health-conscious person who’s curious about the growing popularity of Mediterranean diet, or if you’re an enterprising individual who’s considering restaurant franchise opportunities specializing on Mediterranean cuisines, stick around — we’ll be taking a look at the proven health benefits of this popular diet to see why more people are following it.
#1 It’s Brain Food
A lot of people neglect the type (and amount) of nutrients the brain needs in order to properly function and stay healthy. Luckily, even if brain health isn’t your primary concern when choosing a diet, the Mediterranean diet’s brain health benefits can be a huge bonus. The diet is filled with meal options that have healthy fats needed to prevent cognitive decline and even dementia while boosting brainpower. In fact, a study showed that adhering to the diet can significantly lower the risk of brain diseases and mental issues such as stroke, cognitive impairment, and even depression.
#2 It’s Also Heart Food
Talk about brain and heart balance; the Mediterranean can reduce one’s risk of getting a cardiovascular disease and boost cardiovascular health. This makes it the perfect option for those who have existing cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol or have a family history of heart disease. This can be attributed partly to the heavy use of virgin olive oil and nuts in the diet. There has even been a study showing how 7,000 women with type 2 diabetes or are at high risk of heart disease lowered the risk of heart events by following the diet and without strict adherence to an exercise regimen.
#3 Weight Loss and Maintenance
A lot of people choose their diets based on their weight loss and maintenance benefits. Luckily, a hearty and filling Mediterranean diet can effectively help you keep a healthy weight. It’s not exactly the most effective diet for weight loss as it is quite rich in (healthy) fats, garnering the 17th place in the U.S. News & World Report’s Weight Loss Diets. To be fair, the aforementioned diet doesn’t focus on weight loss, per se, but overall health benefits. However, with a strict calorie plan, it can be used for weight loss and weight maintenance while still allowing you to reap its other health benefits.
#4 Fight Off Cancer
Studies have shown that those following a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of cancer mortality. This includes a wide range of cancer such as breast, colorectal, gastric, liver, head and neck, and prostate cancer. This is due to the higher intake of fruits, grains, and vegetables in the diet, as well as extra-virgin olive oil. And, speaking of the latter, there was even a study showing that women who followed a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil had a 62% lower risk of getting breast cancer.
There’s no question that some other diets out there may offer the same health benefits, but the Mediterranean diet edges out the competition due to its diversity and taste; you won’t have to starve by eating small portions of meals or deprive your taste buds of good-tasting food just to get healthy — what more can you ask for?