By David Colburn
Diet plans, diet pills, workout regimens, repetitions, calorie counting; with so many factors of stress, it’s easy to see why people forget the actual definition of the word “diet” and focus on the concept of a quick remedy instead. Perhaps that is the reason why the Mediterranean diet (MD) is intriguing. Its basis is not found in obsessive organization or chemically-enhanced products, but rather in the basic casual dietary habits of a specific region. Simply put, the word “diet” is used appropriately in the name, and a recent study found that it may be among the healthiest lifestyle adjustments in the world.
According to a meta-analysis recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, adhering to the diet can reduce the risk of Metabolic syndrome (MS) considerably. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by obesity, high blood pressure, and high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, as described on American Heart Association’s official website. The meta-analysis included 50 studies (35 clinical, 13 cross-sectional, and two prospective) and ultimately explored the correlation between MS and MD. Changes in waist circumference, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level, triglycerides, blood pressure, and glucose were of particular interest within the meta-analysis.
In regard to the five categories of mention, at least one respective study derived beneficial associations between MD adherence and waist circumference, HDL levels, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure and glucose in comparison to the control diet. Diastolic blood pressure was ultimately found to have no significant association with the Mediterranean diet in observational studies, but five clinical studies derived a beneficial effect.
In light of such encouraging results, one may wonder what comprises the Mediterranean diet. According to mediterraneandiet.com, basic characteristics include; a considerable consumption of olive oil, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Also a regular consumption of fish and eggs (three to four servings weekly), moderate consumption of meat and saturated fats, one to two small glasses of wine daily, non-refined carbohydrates, and nuts and dairy products at various intervals. The diet exerts an encompassing focus on natural and fresh foods and beverages; a correlation between the dietary pattern and positive health effects ultimately becomes a matter of common sense.
Specific details of the meta-analysis can be found at http://www.cardiosource.org/News-Media/Media-Center/JACC-Releases/2011/03/~/media/A8A9515953EE4AB68E33C5DF8662A9A6.ashx.