Mediterranean diet health benefits every person on weight loss journey should know

The Mediterranean diet, which is commonly referred to as a heart-healthy way of eating, has been linked to a number of potential health benefits.

Now researchers have found that olive oil in this diet may hold the key to improving lifespan and mitigating aging-related diseases.

Early studies on the diet suggested red wine was a major contributor to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet because it contains a compound called resveratrol, which activated a certain pathway in cells known to increase lifespan and prevent aging-related diseases.

However, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cell, suggests that it is the fat in olive oil, another component of the Mediterranean diet, that is actually activating this pathway.

“We found that the way this fat works is it first has to get stored in microscopic things called lipid droplets, which is how our cells store fat.

And then, when the fat is broken down during exercising or fasting, for example, is when the signaling and beneficial effects are realised,” said study researcher Doug Mashek from University of Minnesota.

According to the researchers, merely consuming olive oil is not enough to elicit all of the health benefits.

The study suggested that when coupled with fasting, limiting caloric intake and exercising, the effects of consuming olive oil will be most pronounced.

The next steps for their research are to translate it to humans with the goal of discovering new drugs or to further tailor dietary regimens that improve health, both short-term and long-term.

“We want to understand the biology, and then translate it to humans, hopefully changing the paradigm of healthcare from someone going to eight different doctors to treat his or her eight different disorders,” Mashek said.

“These are all aging-related diseases, so let’s treat aging,” Mashek added.

Another study, published in the journal ‘Gut’, showed that following a Mediterranean diet boosts the types of gut bacteria linked to ‘healthy’ ageing, while reducing those associated with harmful inflammation in older people.

The study found that following a Mediterranean diet for a year could help keep the mind sharp and reduce frailty in old age.

This is going to be a guide to us in our quest to stay healthy.

A better approach is to make a few small changes at a time.

Keeping your goals modest can help you achieve more in the long term without feeling deprived or overwhelmed by a major diet overhaul.

Think of planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps.

As your small changes become a habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.


The foregoing is a fact! It is not easy obeying diet rules; who does not prefer a bowl of ice cream to a bowl of bitter leaf soup?

Who will not choose a good breath over a garlic flavoured-breath?

As difficult as it is to eat healthily, we have to constantly remind ourselves that eating right has a profound effect on our health; we also have to bear it in mind that we are what we eat.

However, if a particular natural food gives you allergies, avoid them. I have seen people who have reactions to nuts and sea foods!

There is value in preaching principles that have stood one in a good stead. Let us look at some tips:

  • Start your day with warm water and lime or lemon instead of coffee. It helps flush out toxins from the body. Take this with straw to protect your teeth.
  • Water is life. Do not get thirsty; this is the best way to beat dehydration. Always drink water that is at room temperature.
  • Your skin is a billboard for what goes on in your body; some diseases first appear as skin problems. Always listen to your skin.
  • The colours of fruits and vegetables are an indicator of the nutrients they provide; your plate should always be a rainbow!
  • There are many effective pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory natural remedies in your kitchen. Eat spices. Some of the spices are ginger, garlic, black pepper and cloves.
  • You will not lose anything if you avoid sugar. Cut out sugary drinks.
  • Bitter leaf tastes bitter, Shea butter smells awfully, garlic gives one a bad breath! Ignore all these and focus on their benefits; their power of healing lies in that flaw you are focusing on!
  • Become more active. Good nutrition and exercise often go hand-in- hand. We live our lives sitting – at our desks, in front of the television, in a meeting or while on the phone. Walking to someone else’s desk rather than sending an e-mail, parking far from a building and walking in, taking the stairs more often, doing house cleaning or gardening can help us to be more active.
  • The importance of good sleep cannot be overstated. Sleep deprivation disrupts appetite regulation, often leading to increased appetite which results in increased calorie intake and weight gain. In fact, people who sleep little tend to weigh significantly more than those who get enough sleep.
  • Eat whole foods—that is, plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined. Examples of whole foods include whole grains, tubers, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
  • Too much salt can raise blood pressure which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Remember, moderate alcohol consumption is always better for health.
  • Eat more fish. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish like salmon and mackerel) at least twice a week. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. This superfood improves brain and heart health and may reduce the risk of a disease like Alzheimers.
  • Get vegetable seeds and plant. You can raise your desired vegetables species or varieties in plastic wares around your home if you do not have a piece of land to plant them.
  • Add more probiotic foods to your diet. A good balance of intestinal flora is important for overall health. If we eat nothing but overly processed and hard-to-digest foods, then fermentation occurs within the gastrointestinal track resulting into gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. However, providing the body with predigested foods such as fermented foods will help the existing microbes within to do the job they need to do.
  • Probiotic foods like yoghurt, apple cider vinegar and soft cheeses are also gut-friendly. Dawadawa (African locust bean) is part of them.
  • When was the last time you had a medical checkup? A lot of people are guilty of this. Do not wait till you fall sick before you visit your doctor. This helps in nipping health problems in the bud.
  • If you are on medications already, use your drugs. As you use them, change your diet to a healthy one.
  • Eating a balanced diet helps people maintain good health and reduces the risk of having diseases. I know people who do not eat beans. This is where the woman plays a major role in the home. Variety, they say, is the spice of life. Beans can be made into akara, moimoi, gbegiri and some other things.
  • Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. True emotional and mental health requires one to accept, process and respond to things that are not always pleasant or positive. What many refer to as ‘negative’ emotions are part of the human experience; running away from these simply because they do not feel good does not actually support true well-being.

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