The Mediterranean Diet is a popular approach to a more nutritious lifestyle. Today we will discover how this popular diet may help decrease the development of chronic disease, and premature health conditions associated with the aging process.
There are a variety of studies that discuss the negative effects that chronic inflammation has on the body. Such as increasing the risk of developing a chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Chronic systemic inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in premature aging issues and autoimmune disease.
Not to mention the fact that the incidence of chronic disease is rising and occurring in many adults at younger than average ages. This means that people could live longer lives while struggling with health issues, therefore decreasing the ability to live an independent and healthy life.
Key Concepts of the Mediterranean Diet
The main idea or focus of the Mediterranean diet is to eat foods that are primarily plant-based and that are high in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and quality whole grains. An example of what one would typically consume on a Mediterranean diet would be:
- Variety of whole fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, legumes, and nuts
- Moderate amounts of red wine at meals
- Healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil
- Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices
- Limited amounts of red meat with moderate consumption of fish, seafood, and poultry
2 Important Anti-Aging Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
1. Decreases Oxidative Stress
Free Radicals are the bodies enemy concerning the aging process. Free Radicals have a nasty habit of stealing electrons from healthy cells and can lead to the development of disease and premature aging. There are many foods that are consumed in a conventional diet that are high in free radicals due to their ability to oxidize when cooked over high heat. Processed meats, unsaturated fats, and grilling or cooking meats at high temperatures can lead to meats oxidizing and increase free radical exposure. Consuming antioxidant supplements can attribute to oxidation within the body because of the ability for pro-oxidation to occur due to these ingredients being consumed in excessive amounts. The Mediterranean diet is beneficial because of the high consumption of antioxidants, and the high amount of fruits and vegetables that are consumed yielding greater protection from oxidative stress.
2. Can Decrease and Prevent Inflammation
Anti-inflammatory foods and spices help to prevent and decrease inflammation from occurring within the body.
Consuming foods such as tomatoes, broccoli, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel will help you to obtain anti-inflammatory nutrients. Consuming foods such as spinach, a variety of berries, walnuts, and kale are great ways to obtain antioxidants. Anti-inflammatory spices and herbs such as ginger and garlic are also very beneficial.
Another powerful molecule that has proven to be the most effective at combating chronic disease and premature aging are polyphenols. Polyphenols can be found in dark chocolate and red wine. Moderate red wine consumption is part of the Mediterranean diet and can be consumed with meals, such as dinner. It is recommended by the New England Journal of Medicine that women consume a 3-ounce serving of wine to prevent overconsumption and the potential side effects that come with overindulging. While still enjoying the health benefits that come with regular red wine consumption.
5 Ways You Can Transition to a Mediterranean Diet
Now that you have learned what exactly the Mediterranean diet is and how it is beneficial for anyone concerned with premature aging and seeking to prevent common aging-related issues. Let us talk about how you can implement the Mediterranean Diet into your daily flexible, intuitive nutrition. My first recommendation is that you check with your doctor and make sure that adhering to and transitioning to the Mediterranean Diet is a good choice for you. Before trying any “diet” or making nutritional changes it’s important to understand if your body would respond well to eating that particular way and if you would benefit or respond well to that way of eating.
Eat More Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Any healthy nutrition plan or “diet” will recommend that you increase the uptake of your fruits and vegetables. The Mediterranean diet is no different. Adhering to the Mediterranean diet and consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetable aids to ensure you are receiving essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans provide antioxidant benefits as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. They are also a great source of healthy fats and contain omega 3 fatty acids which are important for us to include in our nutrition since our bodies do not make this essential nutrient on its own we must rely on obtaining this nutrient through the foods we eat and supplementation.
Decrease Consumption of Red Meat
It is important to realize that there is very little red meat is consumed on the typical Mediterranean diet. Instead, the focus is placed on the consumption of lean protein such as poultry (chicken and turkey), seafood (shrimp, mussels, crab) and cold water fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines).
Enjoy a Glass of Red Wine in Moderation
Moderate consumption of red wine can be healthy and beneficial. Red wine can improve cardiovascular health, and boost omega 3 levels. Remember that on average women are to consume 3 ounces of red wine per day.
Eat More Whole Grains
Consuming whole grains can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes. Whole grain foods contain key nutrients such as fiber, B-vitamins, antioxidants and trace minerals. The most common types of whole grains to look for are oatmeal, quinoa, and whole wheat bread.
Find What Works Best for You
The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits associated with it and can prove to be a great option for decreasing chronic disease and inflammation. Making the decision that a Mediterranean diet is not for you does not mean you can not find other diets or nutrition styles that implement healthy eating habits and aid in decreasing your risk of developing chronic disease and inflammation. You should aim to focus on consuming a variety of whole, minimally processed foods is key. Becoming consistent with making nutritious choices on a daily basis will lead to the best benefits in preventing premature aging and chronic disease.
About the Author
Hi, my name is Kathleen but you can call me Kat. I am an Esthetician, Lifestyle Wellness Coach, Content Creator, and Writer. My intention is to provide you with education and awareness about women’s health, nutrition, fitness, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle. I primarily help women that are seeking holistic and natural solutions to managing their chronic condition, improving their lifestyle and combating anti-aging concerns. I offer coaching programs and courses that are designed to help you redefine your health and defy aging. You can find my content on a variety of social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
If you take the opportunity to visit me on my other platforms don’t hesitate to leave a message, I would love to hear from you!
References for this Post
Brazier, Y. (2017, September 7). Healthline Media UK Ltd. Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265635.php
Cachofeiro, V., Goicochea, M., Vinuesa de Garcia, S., Oubina, P., Lahera, V., & Luno, J. (2008, December). Official Journal of the International Society of Nephrology. Retrieved from Elsevier: http://www.nejm.org/doi/suppl/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303/suppl_file/nejmoa1200303_appendix.pdf
Claudio Franceschi, J. C. (2014, June 1). Oxford University Press. Retrieved from The Journals of Gerontology: https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/69/Suppl_1/S4/587037
Estruch R, R. E.-S. (2014). Chronic Inflammation and obesity related diseases. Retrieved from Journal of Clinical Investigation: https://www.jci.org/articles/view/JCI19451
Francesco Sofi, R. A. (2010, November 1). Oxford University Press. Retrieved from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/92/5/1189/4597540
Xu, H., Barnes, T. G., Yang, Q., Tan, G., Yang, D., Chou, J. C., . . . and Chen, H. (2003, December 15). American Society for Clinical Investigation. Retrieved from The Journal of Clinical Investigation: https://www.jci.org/articles/view/JCI19451