The Mediterranean diet has been around for decades now. It was not until recently that this diet became popular. This diet has been backed up by different scientific researches. Moreover, it has been recognized as the number 1 diet for a healthy lifestyle in the past few years.
Although the diet pattern among Mediterranian diets varies from region to region, the basic idea is the same. This diet emphasizes the consumption of healthy and organic food.
Consumption of animal products is limited in this diet. Additionally, it completely restricts the intake of processed food, sugars, trans and refined fats.
Even though this diet is extremely healthy and has numerous benefits, there are few downfalls too.
This article will discuss all the pros and cons of the Mediterranean diet.
Pros of the Mediterranean diet
This is a Balanced Diet
The Mediterranean diet adds all the essential nutrients that make up a balanced diet. The foods allowed in this diet have a balance of carbs, proteins, and fats.
Along with that, the fruits and vegetables in this diet can help in getting essential micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Most of the time, people worry that reducing dairy and red meat may result in deficiencies. However, this is not the case. The essential nutrients like iron, folate, and calcium can be obtained from vegetables too.
In this regard, green leafy vegetables are the best. They are high in calcium and iron content. Moreover, vitamins like vitamin B-12 are present in seafood too. The desserts are also replaced with fruits to keep a healthy blood sugar level.
It is strongly suggested that you stay physically active for maximum benefits.
Improves heart health
American Heart Association recommends a Mediterranean diet to prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. Studies suggest that there is strong evidence to prove that this diet helps with cardiovascular conditions.
This diet also reduces the risk factors that cause heart problems. These factors include diabetes, obesity, cholesterol, and hypertension.
This is because the foods in this diet provide a lot of fibers and healthy nutrients. Moreover, it cuts out harmful foods like sugars, sodium, and trans fats.
In addition to this, physical activity is highly emphasized. This leads to better health conditions.
It is easy to follow
Mediterranean diet is easy to follow. Because it involves foods from all the major food groups. Unlike some other diets, you don’t have to reduce major food nutrients, like carbs in your diet.
Additionally, this diet promotes the use of healthy fats and oils which provide lots of vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about skipping fruits or vegetables.
The Meditteranean diet encourages their use in your meals. Eating fruits and vegetables provides a lot of fibers, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Even though, this diet limits the consumption of poultry, eggs, and meat, you will still not lack protein.
Since this diet allows consumption of seafood and legumes. Moreover, green leafy vegetables have a lot of iron. Therefore, if correctly followed, the deficiency is rare.
Lowers the consumption of saturated fats
In day-to-day life, we consume harmful saturated fats without even realizing it. Most people love butter in their breakfast, while other like cheese with everything.
Moreover, bakery foods, meat, and bacon add unnecessary saturated fats to the body. These may taste good but they are also extremely harmful.
These may taste good but they are also extremely harmful. The accumulation of these harmful compounds leads to complicated health conditions.
Additionally, they are high in bad cholesterol that can enter your bloodstream and clogs your arteries. A high level of bad cholesterol results in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain other conditions.
This diet focuses on the use of healthy (unsaturated) fats.
These include olive oil, canola oil, fish oil, and nuts with healthy fats. The body can break down unsaturated fats more easily. Therefore, there are fewer chances of them accumulating in the system.
Prevents Diabetes and Cancer
This diet is good to prevent diabetes. Because this diet restricts the use of sweets, sugars, candies, sodas, and all other sugary stuff.
Moreover, fruits are a replacement for desserts which makes this diet even more effective. As fruits contain minerals that can reduce risk factors of diabetes. Following this strictly may even reverse diabetes in the early stages.
Studies have shown an inverse relationship between type 2 diabetes and this diet.
Other than that, it may also help in the prevention of cancers. According to a study, the Mediterranean diet contains foods that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
These compounds can prevent DNA damage and inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells.
Cons of the Mediterranean diet
One of the downfalls of this diet is that it can be expensive. Especially if you are running on a low budget.
Grocery products like olive oil, nuts, and seafood can put a dent in your wallet. Therefore, it will be hard to follow this diet if you don’t come up with a cost-effective plan.
There are ways to buy food that will cost less. For example, you can always opt for discount products or brands that are selling the same food at lower prices.
Moreover, you can also avoid buying foods that are too expensive. Like you don’t have to eat seafood every day to get protein. Beans and legumes are a good option too.
Similarly, vegetable oils other than olive can cost less.
Since this diet does not favor the consumption of pre-made food, it can be time-consuming. Especially if you are not good at kitchen work or have difficulty working hours.
This diet requires you to select your own grocery and cook it to your liking. You will be in the kitchen chopping, cutting, grinding, and washing the food.
Moreover, there are rarely any restaurants that will have a proper menu for a Mediterranean diet. Even if they did, the chances are that the prices will be too high.
However, you can still overcome this problem. All you have to do is go for simple food items for meals that will require little preparation time.
A bowl of salad with some bread is easy to prepare, pasta with lots of veggies is also a good option, or you can just grill a fish.
May cause some deficiencies
If one doesn’t properly follow this diet, then deficiencies are inevitable. The most common deficiencies could be protein, calcium, and iron.
Before you jump into this diet, it is necessary that you talk to an expert. It is not advisable to start this diet by learning bits and pieces.
Always make sure that you are ready for a long-term change in your diet. Just do not decide it at the spur of the moment because you heard the diet is good.
Also, don’t start this as a cure for anything. Diets and lifestyles can help prevent the risk of disease. But they are not an alternative for prescribed medicines.
Restrictions may be hard to follow
Mediterranean diets follow the consumption of simple foods and food products. These foods may not always be super delicious, unlike some junk foods.
Therefore, if you have been on a steady supply of processed and oily foods then this can be hard. If you have a sweet tooth and love desserts, fruits may not be your favorite replacement.
However, with time you can get used to the taste and adapt to it. Also, you can rarely treat yourself to your favorite type of sugary or junk food.
Without a doubt, the Mediterranean diet carries a lot of benefits. So if you follow this correctly, then this diet is the best choice. However, there are few downsides to it too.
Therefore, if you think this diet is not fitting for you then you can opt for some other diet. It is also better if you consult your doctor first for this diet.
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