The Mediterranean diet is really good for you. Here’s why.
Diet can also have major health benefits during pregnancy, said Dr. Anum Sohail Minhas, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine. IN a recent study of nearly 7,800 women published in December, researchers found that those who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet at the time of conception and during early pregnancy had about a 21 percent lower risk of any pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or premature birth.
“There definitely seems to be a protective effect,” Dr. Minhas said.
Still, the Mediterranean diet alone isn’t a cure-all, Dr. Heffron said — it won’t eliminate your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, and it won’t cure the disease. It is important that people pay attention to others principles of good heart healthsuch as regular exercise and sufficient sleep and not smoking.
Will the Mediterranean diet help you lose weight?
Dieting can help you lose weight, Ms. Zumpano said, but you’ll still need to watch your calories.
“Nutrient-dense foods are not necessarily low-calorie,” said Dr. Heffron, who noted that the diet includes foods like olive oil and nuts, which are heart-healthy but high in calories and can lead to weight gain if eaten in large amounts. portions. But changing your diet from one that’s high in calories, saturated fat and added sugars, for example, to one that favors vegetables, fruits and leaner proteins can result in some weight loss, he said.
However, the Mediterranean diet is not intended as a quick weight loss trick. Instead, it should encourage a long-term change in eating behavior. IN one study of more than 30,000 people living in Italy, for example, researchers found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet the most for about 12 years were less likely to become overweight or obese than those who followed the diet less. AND smaller study, 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 closely to the Mediterranean diet were twice as likely to maintain their weight loss as those who did not adhere closely to the diet.
How long do you need to follow the Mediterranean diet to reap the benefits?
If you’re just starting to follow a Mediterranean diet, limited evidence suggests you may notice some cognitive improvements — including attention, alertness, and satisfaction, according to one review of studies published in 2021 — in the first 10 or so days. But for there to be long-term payoffs in terms of heart health, people have to stick with it, Ms. Zumpano said, ideally for life.
Plus, she added, the diet allows for some flexibility; the occasional cake or steak won’t negate its overall benefits.