Lowered Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers, your systolic and diastolic pressure. Researchers examined over 1,000 participants aged 65-79 who followed the Mediterranean diet for a year. Afterward, they discovered that the systolic blood pressure of the male participants decreased by an average of 5.5-milligrams of mercury.
Although heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of both men and women, more males than females have heart attacks. This finding offers one way to decrease the number of incidents.
The Mediterranean diet is high in antioxidants like the lycopene found in tomatoes. Because it emphasizes the good fats, you’ll also consume more foods high in vitamin E. This nutrient is critical for keeping your skin glowing and healthy. It also promotes hair and nail growth. If you’re typically plagued with things like acne or dry, breaking locks, this meal plan can restore your natural luster.
Plus, because you increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, you’ll reap anti-aging benefits. Some research suggests that ascorbic acid in vitamin C, for example, has a positive effect when taken internally. You might notice fewer fine lines and wrinkles after a few weeks on this meal plan.
No Need to Count Calories
Let’s face it: Counting calories, points or anything else is a drag. Who wants to go out to dinner and have to calculate what they may or may not order off the menu? Fortunately, with the Mediterranean diet, you can put the calorie calculator away.
Eating on this plan merely entails making healthy choices. Feel free to eat the following — but stop when you feel sated:
- Fruits and vegetables: You should aim to make plant-based foods the focus of every meal. Strive to fill at least half of your plate. The closer foods are to their natural form, the better — think light stir-frying or steaming.
- Nuts and seeds: Although these are high in fat, they’re the heart-healthy variety. You can sprinkle these on salads or enjoy a handful as a snack.
- Legumes: Beans, peas and lentils all make the list of safe foods.
- Whole grains: While you want to avoid processed flours, if you can tolerate gluten, you can eat whole wheat. You can also indulge in ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth if gluten upsets your digestion.
- Lean dairy and meats: While you want to consume these in moderation, many dieticians encourage eating fish at least twice per week. However, if you embrace a vegan lifestyle, you can practice this meal plan without including these foods.
- Healthy fats: You can enjoy olive oil to your heart’s content — pun intended. Try extra virgin or avocado oil.