Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Diabetes is a growing problem worldwide, so researchers continue to look for lifestyle behaviors that can be changed in order to prevent or reverse this trend. More and more, experts are devoting attention to the Mediterranean diet. Since the 1960’s it has been noted that people living in the Mediterranean have had food habits which can clearly be linked to good health because they consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, and olive oil with minimal amounts of animal products.

The Mediterranean diet boasts whole foods and a lower intake of fat, most importantly saturated fat, by the consumption of olive oil over other oils which is proven to reduce insulin resistance and reduce the chances of developing diabetes by one-fifth over diets that feature whole milk and butter which are shown to increase the risk of diabetes.

Overall, the Mediterranean diet has several components that impact diabetes…

  • Consumption of fiber satiates and causes diabetics to eat less and consume less sugar
  • Olive oil has anti-inflamatory properties which may decrease the risk of chronic disease and adds nutrients to food rather than just adding fat like other oils may tend to do
  • Energy density or calorie content of the Mediterranean diet is lower than the typical American diet and shows a decreased risk of obesity and related chronic health problems by increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
  • High Antioxidant intake from consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of type II diabetes.

The balance of micronutirents, phytochemicals, and fiber seem to play a major role in improving glycemic control which is very important in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.Be sure to consult with your primary care physician regarding your own health needs.