Mediterranean Diet Shown Time After Time To Be The Best – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 243
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH.
Every single week, there is a new study that comes out that continuously reinforces the importance of people who adhere to a Mediterranean-style diet. If you’ve listened to any of my podcasts in the past, you know that I am slightly fanatical when it comes to that notion.
I see the science. I understand what it is that these foods are actually doing to maintain our health and keep us from coming to that point where we fall into the statistics of Americans with chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are on the rise in this country, whether we’re looking at cardiovascular disease or the whole plethora of metabolic diseases, including diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. The foods that we consume play an enormous role into that.
I want to talk about some studies that have come out in the last few years that are highlighting and reinforcing why it is that a Mediterranean diet is so incredibly important.
The importance of the Mediterranean diet
Last week, a study came out of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center talking about the Mediterranean diet and how this could help reduce the effects of stress. That makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the way those nutrients are working. When we think about a Mediterranean diet, we’re thinking about a full spectrum of getting adequate vitamins, minerals and the appropriate healthy fats. In this particular study, the American Psychological Association was looking at how foods could impact levels of stress. Not only did stress have a negative effect on work and personal relationships, but they were also looking at that link between stress and the risk of many chronic conditions, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as higher mortality rates. The Wake Forest School of Medicine were looking at eating a Mediterranean diet and how this could provide a relatively easy way to help lessen the physiological effects of stress and promote healthy aging.
Adhering to a Mediterranean diet is not difficult. You don’t have to get on a plane, move to Greece and think that’s going to be the only way that you can do this. It’s about having adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables in your diet. It’s going with things like seeds and nuts as snacks instead of potato chips. We know that this is a very attainable way in terms of eating. For many Americans, they’re just unaware of how to go about doing that. I always encourage people to eat healthy every single day, not just one of two days out of the week.
Important nutrients in the Mediterranean diet
Let’s talk about how eating nuts can reduce weight gain. Loma Linda University did a five-year study that evaluated the diet and lifestyle of over 370,000 people throughout ten different European countries. This is a large study. The people who were included in this study were between the ages of 25 and 70 years old. They published this in the European Journal of Nutrition. They found that people who include nuts in their diet are more likely to reduce weight gain and have a lower risk of being overweight or obese.
It’s not rocket science when it comes to making these modifications. Just switch out potato chips for a handful of almonds.
Let’s look at a study that came out of Joslin Diabetes Center, where they were looking at different nutrients and how those nutrients may reduce blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is driven predominantly through these different metabolic pathways and some of these pathways are driven via amino acids. The researchers were looking at how these amino acids could help to regulate that pathway. One of the amino acids that they honed in on was alanine and they said that the alanine was the one amino acid that was consistently able to activate this main pathway known as the AMPK pathway. The more regulation that we have to these particular pathways that help when it comes to our glucose and insulin balance, then we are doing the right thing.
What we know about alanine is that a lot of those foods that are included in the Mediterranean diet are high in alanine. When we look at things like spinach, asparagus, cauliflower and pumpkin seeds, we know that all of these have a high amount of this very important amino acid. This is just another nod to why the Mediterranean diet is so advantageous for our overall health.
Tune into the full podcast episode to learn more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
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