Experts have lauded the Mediterranean diet as being one of the best to follow when attempting to achieve a healthier lifestyle through diet. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, the diet is well-established for its positive effects on overall health.
High cholesterol is a precursor for potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks or strokes. Previous studies have found that following a Mediterranean diet, which consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, and fish, reduces heart disease risk in adults.
With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. If unchallenged, these deposits can later grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries, yet the Mediterranean diet has been shown to help significantly and counteract the build-up.
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Health guru Dr Michael Mosley is a prominent advocate for the diet. He has provided countless pieces of advice that blend exercise with diet, in a bid to help people achieve their desired look, and mental wellbeing.
According to Heart UK, benefits of the Mediterranean diet include:
- It’s rich in monounsaturated fats which are heart healthy, such as olive oil and nuts
- It’s a good source of omega 3 fatty acids from seafood, especially oily fish which are good for your heart health too
- It’s rich in potassium, which comes from wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables and nuts
- It’s rich in fibre including soluble fibre from wholegrain cereals, vegetables, fruit, beans and peas
- rich in antioxidants including vitamins E and C, carotenoids and flavonoids
- It’s rich in B vitamins including folic acid.
Depending on the exact country, the diet varies slightly over the regions but includes similar principles. The Mediterranean diet is generally packed with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains and fish.
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And its staple linked to good heart health is olive oil. Olive oil is the primary source of added fat in the Mediterranean diet, added Medical News Today.
The health site added: “Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat.
“Fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats help fight inflammation in the body.
“Omega-3 fatty acids also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and lower the risk of stroke and heart failure.”