Mediterranean diet

Nowadays there are lots of diets that promise awesome results. Apart from the weight loss aspect, there are also those which claim that certain diets can reduce pain and have curative effects. One such diet is the Mediterranean diet. Some of the beneficial claims about it are that it is healthy and prevents cardiovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet is, for instance, rich in fruit and vegetables, fish and sea food, and olive oil.

Diet has a big impact

We are all well aware that our eating habits have an effect on the state of our body. Anyone who eats a lot of fast food full of calories is at risk, for instance, of putting on weight. On the other hand, anyone who eats a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables may notice positive differences. For instance, many vegetarians will testify to the health benefits. However, if we do not eat meat in our diet, there is a risk of a deficiency of vitamin B and D. This is why Sweden’s National Food Agency recommends supplements for those who follow a vegetarian diet. Another popular diet is the 5:2 diet, based on regular fasting. The important thing is for everyone to find a diet that suits their personal needs and objectives.

What a Mediterranean diet comprises

The Mediterranean diet has got its name from the food which often originates from countries bordering the Mediterranean. A Mediterranean diet includes a high intake of fruit and vegetables, fish, seafood, pasta, and olive oil. It is also recommended eating beans and lentils, only unsaturated fat (mainly from olive oil), and different types of grains. According to other recommendations, we should also consume a moderate amount of poultry and dairy products and only a small amount of red meat. We also usually include the consumption of wine, mainly red wine, in moderate quantities.

Anyone following a Mediterranean diet should limit their consumption of red meat. This can be substituted by fish and seafood. Oily fish (which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids), berries, fruit, and calcium-rich dairy products are also important diet constituents. Scientific evidence is available to support the fact that a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This type of food is said to have the ability to reduce inflammation, including in the joints. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this. Given that Mediterranean food is rich in calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin D, this diet will also be good for the skeleton, but there is no scientific proof for this either.

Benefits of a Mediterranean diet

If you opt for a Mediterranean diet with a lot of fruit and vegetables with bright colors, you will be consuming substances from the plants’ external parts that protect you. Dairy products such as cottage cheese, yoghurt, feta cheese, and mozzarella also commonly feature in a Mediterranean diet and contain lactic acid bacteria. They are important for the immune system and are said, for instance, to be able to prevent stomach conditions and strengthen the digestion process. Most diets that entail a reduced calorie intake, which includes the Mediterranean diet, can make it easier to lose weight. This can help ease an earlier strain on the joints.

Read more about a sustainable diet for weight loss.

But some downsides also come with a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet also includes, for instance, cured meats, pasta, and bread, which are calorific foods. Therefore, this diet may need to be combined with some physical activity to ensure that it results in a healthier life.

Diet combined with physical activity

Many people would like it to be possible just to change their diet and immediately feel much better after this. In some cases, this is possible. Anyone who previously ate only junk food and then switches to this diet may notice a number of benefits, such as having more power and energy. Unfortunately, things don’t always seem as clear-cut for those with a chronic condition. Osteoarthritis is an example of a joint disease that is mainly treated by exercise, even though many may experience benefits from switching diet. Therefore, it is not completely true to say that a Mediterranean diet will reduce the problems resulting from osteoarthritis. There is simply not enough scientific evidence available to show that a Mediterranean diet would affect chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.

Read more in-depth facts about osteoarthritis.

However, it is still a good idea for those affected by osteoarthritis to try to eat healthily, which means choosing more fruit and vegetables and less red meat, sugar, and semi-processed foods. This is part of a Mediterranean diet. A healthy diet combined with supervised regular exercise is what gives results in the case of osteoarthritis. Supervised, personalized exercise has been scientifically proven to help. It is also the form of treatment advocated by the National Board of Health and Welfare, as well as by doctors and physiotherapists.

Continue reading about a vegetarian diet.