Getting a beautiful slender figure without hunger strikes and debilitating restrictions, staying healthy, energetic, efficient and at the same time losing weight is everyone’s dream. What kind of diet can provide this? According to a report by the American news magazine U.S. News & World Report, published in early 2021.
the Mediterranean or Cretan diet has topped the list of the best diets in the world for the 4th year in a row. What is the secret of such success? What are the main principles of this dietary system and how it differs from others. This is exactly what we will tell the readers of our Photoblog
.What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Cretan or Mediterranean diet is a food system practiced in Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece and southern France. It combines moderation and a variety of foods with a special way of life: cooking, exercise, sharing the pleasures of food, etc.
The concept of the Mediterranean diet appeared in the 1950s, when Ansel Keys, a public health professor in Minnesota, conducted a comparative analysis between the eating habits of the inhabitants of 7 Western countries (USA, Finland, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Italy, Japan, Greece) and the death rate from cardiovascular diseases. diseases for 15 years. The results were striking: the lethality of Cretans (3.8%) was extremely low compared to Finns (97.2%) or Americans (77.3%).
The main emphasis in the diet of centenarians is on whole grains, unlimited fruits and vegetables, olive oil, legumes and oilseeds. Honey is used instead of sugar. The diet includes wholesome animal proteins from fish, seafood.
As an accompaniment to meals, red wine is acceptable in moderation (maximum 1 glass per day during meals) and sufficient water (at least 6 glasses per day). An important condition is the combination of high physical activity with calorie restriction from 1800 to 2500 per day. But that’s not all!
So it’s more than just the pursuit of optimal health. Through a social lens, she emphasizes the foundations of cultural identity, which are based on 2 pillars: take your time to cook and take your time to eat, enjoying simple and healthy meals while eating together and socializing.
Strengthens the heart
The diet of the Cretans is good for the heart – such a conclusion was made during one of the studies of the University of Lyon. During the experiment, 600 patients were observed, divided into two groups.
Both received the same drug treatment, but different nutrition: the control group followed a normal diet, and the experimental group – the Cretan one. After 27 months, the experimental group saw an 80% reduction in heart attacks: 8 deaths in the Cretan group versus 20 in the control group.
Scientists attribute the healing effect to the presence in the diet of a large amount of fatty fish, seafood and vegetable oils rich in Omega-3-6-9 acids in an ideal proportion. In addition, vegetables and fruits, rich in antioxidants, successfully cope with inflammatory processes in the body.
Effective in the prevention of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, unlike type 1, develops with age and is always associated with malnutrition and overweight. In another study in a group of 901 people with type 2 diabetes, those who ate a Mediterranean diet saw reduced blood glucose levels and improved all markers of health.
The 9-year experiment involved 7447 people aged 55 to 80 years old, predisposed to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Participants were divided into dietary groups: olive oil DM, nut DM, and a low-fat diet. At the end of the study, it was found that groups 1 and 2 had a 40% and 18% lower risk of diabetes, respectively, compared to people in group 3 who followed the low-fat diet. In addition, those who ate the Mediterranean variant required the introduction of drugs much later, those who followed a simple low-calorie diet.
Improves bowel function
With plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, as well as whole grains rich in dietary fiber, the Mediterranean diet is very beneficial for the digestive tract.
A five-year study published in the journal GUT showed that the Mediterranean diet can change the gut microbiome by populating it with beneficial microbiota. As you know, the more diverse the intestinal microflora, the higher the balance towards beneficial microorganisms, the lower the production of inflammatory mediators that affect cognitive functions, the risk of diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis and cancer.
The study involved 612 people aged 65 to 79 years. The scientists analyzed the gut microbiome before and after the start of the experiment. It turned out that after 12 months of the Mediterranean diet, the participants in the experiment experienced an increase in the number of bacteria that inhibit the rate of development of senile asthenia, improved memory, and decreased the concentration of inflammatory mediators in the blood.
In addition, as the analysis showed, the number of bacteria associated with intestinal cancer and fatty liver decreased in the composition of pathogenic microorganisms.
Most interestingly, the effect of the diet did not depend on the age or weight of the participants.
The Mediterranean diet has been found to reduce the risk of death by 25%. The data, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, is based on extensive research conducted in Italy during 2005-2010. The health status of 5,200 people over 65 was analyzed regarding their nutrition. The result showed that those participants whose diet was close to the Mediterranean had a quarter lower risk of death than those who ate differently.
Analyzing the experiment, the researchers concluded that the diet remains effective even if individual components are removed from it, leaving the most important ones: fish, cereals and vegetables.