Health

The Mediterranean diet really is that good for you. That’s why.

The Mediterranean diet really is that good for you. That’s why.

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Diet can also have profound health benefits during pregnancy, said Dr. Anum Sohail Minhas, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine. in recent study of nearly 7,800 women published in December, researchers found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely around the time they conceived and during early pregnancy had about a 21 percent reduced risk of any complications of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia gestational diabetes or premature birth.

“It definitely seems to have a protective effect,” Dr. Minhas said.

By itself, however, the Mediterranean diet isn’t a panacea, Dr. Heffron said—it won’t eliminate your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, and it won’t cure disease. It is important that people pay attention to others as well principles of good heart healthsuch as regular exercise and adequate sleep and not smoking.

The diet can be conducive to weight loss, Ms. Zumpano said, but you’ll still need to pay attention to calories.

“Nutrient-dense foods are not necessarily low-calorie,” said Dr. Heffron, who noted that the diet includes foods like olive oil and nuts that are heart-healthy but high in calories and can lead to weight gain. weight if consumed in large portions. But changing your diet from one that’s high in calories, saturated fat and added sugars, for example, to one that prioritizes vegetables, fruits and leaner proteins can lead to some weight loss, he said .

However, the Mediterranean diet is not meant to be a quick weight loss gimmick. Rather, it should inspire long-term change in eating behavior. in a study of more than 30,000 people living in Italy, for example, researchers found that those who followed the strictest Mediterranean diet for about 12 years were less likely to become overweight or obese than those who , who followed the diet less. A less research, published in 2020, included 565 adults who had intentionally lost 10 percent or more of their body weight in the previous year. It found that those who reported adhering strictly to the Mediterranean diet were twice as likely to maintain their weight loss than those who did not adhere strictly to the diet.

If you’re just starting to follow the Mediterranean diet, limited data suggests you may notice some cognitive improvements — including attention, alertness and satisfaction, according to a review of studies published in 2021 — in the first 10 days. But for there to be sustained, long-term gains in heart health, people need to stick with it, Ms. Zumpano said, ideally throughout their lives.

That being said, she added, the diet allows for some flexibility; a cake or steak now and then will not negate its general advantages.


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