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The Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

July 19, 2021

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Don't let the word "diet" spook you. A Mediterranean-style diet is a great way to invigorate your usual eating style with delicious fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. Pass the olive oil, please.

Did you know that by consuming a traditional Mediterranean diet, one’s mood can be boosted? Now, how can food influence mental health? Well, Medical News Today reports a correlation between a lower risk of depression in those with a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet. Remember, vegetables have many benefits aside from helping mental health.

What is a Mediterranean Diet? 

The Mediterranean diet is made up of traditional eating patterns of those who live in the Mediterranean region. This diet consists of nutrient-dense foods such as extra virgin olive oil, fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and fish.

Many of the nutrients found in the Mediterranean diet are known to help increase production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which are known as the “feel good” brain chemicals. You'll find this in foods such as fish, seeds, and walnuts which contain omega-3 fatty acids; and plant-derived foods such as spinach and nuts. 

What are the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet? 

A 2019 study published in Advances in Nutrition found that foods rich in Polyphenols can effectively alleviate symptoms of depression. Polyphenol-rich foods make up part of the Mediterranean diet as they're found in coffee, fruits, and olive oil. In addition, a diet that follows the Mediterranean guidelines has shown to be protective against type 2 diabetes, which is especially helpful as those who suffer from diabetes can be twice as likely to suffer from depression. The Mediterranean diet also helps with weight management and has anti-inflammatory properties. Coupled with an active lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet provides benefits that may improve wellness along many dimensions. 

Keeping all this in mind, it's no surprise that the Mediterranean diet has been voted as being the best diet in the world for four years, according to the US News and World Report Rankings. Small changes in one’s diet like incorporating leafy greens, beans, fruits, nuts, and substituting oils high in saturated fats (canola, peanut) with extra virgin olive oil can be easy ways to move towards eating a Mediterranean-style diet. 

Moorings Park has plenty of selections for dining thanks to our numerous restaurants spread across our three campuses. Members are guaranteed to find delicious, healthy meals that incorporate many of the ingredients found in a Mediterranean diet. (Pro tip: Did you know that once a member, you can dine at any of the restaurants, regardless of which location you reside at?)

To learn more about Moorings Park Communities, please visit MooringsPark.org.

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