The health benefits of Mediterranean diet are no secret. For decades, scientists have been studying the impact of this eating approach to health and well-being in various populations.
Past studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet:
- Promotes longevity
- Lowers risk of developing type 2 diabetes,
- Prevents obesity
- Reduces the risk of cognitive disorders, particularly Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Promotes blood vessel health
Many studies have looked at the effects of the low fat, low cholesterol diets and it’s no surprise that they did achieve lower total cholesterol levels. They did not, however, reduce the incidence of myocardial infarctions (heart attack) and coronary heart disease mortalities.
A review was conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona College of Medicine who looked at studies conducted from 1957 until the present. They found that “whole diet approaches” to eating, particularly the Mediterranean diet, were the best at preventing heart disease, even when they didn’t specifically lower cholesterol levels. The researchers note,” Mediterranean style diets are effective in preventing CHD even though they do not decrease total serum cholesterol or LDL cholesterol.”
The Mediterranean diet is naturally low in animal and saturated fats, but is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. This eating pattern, which is more of a lifestyle for Greeks, is mainly comprised of fruits, vegetables and fish.
 Dalen, J.E & Devries, S. Diets to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease: 1957-2013. What Have We Learned?. The American Journal of Medicine. Published online, December 31st, 2013.