We all know that a diet laced with greasy burgers and junk food is a great example of what NOT to do.
As easy as it is to get our hands on junk food, we have to stay away from it as often as we can. So what are we supposed to eat, instead?
The “Mediterranean Diet” has become a fashionable new trend, largely because it’s so popular amongst doctors and nutrition professionals, and is also easy to get into.
Olive Oil: It's What's on the Inside that Counts
The Mediterranean Diet traces its roots to the eating habits of people who lived along the Mediterranean coast during the Middle Ages.
Followers of the Mediterranean Diet kept to a small and simple list of foods: fish and seafood, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, and of course -- olive oil.
Research has come into popularity that olive oil is one of the essential keys to great and long-lasting health. But, what is it that makes this natural substance, often drizzled into random recipes, so good for you?
It's because olive oil contains properties that the human body craves and needs to operate at peak efficiency. Properties such as polyphenols, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and also a compound known as oleocanthal (a compound shown to fight free radicals in laboratory testing) are all found in high amounts inside olive oil.
How Can My Body Benefit from the Mediterranean Diet?
Beyond just olive oil, the Mediterranean diet is loaded with foods that all boast similar properties and benefits. Many of these foods can also assist in burning fat, studies show.
“In a short-term experimental crossover study involving participants with obesity... a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil prevented accumulation of central body fat,” writes Dr. Nancy Babio in her research reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
What Makes These Foods so GOOD?
What is it about these foods that make them so uniquely beneficial? One of the biggest reasons as to why is because of their richness of "polyphenols" -- a chemical that your body needs to run and operate at peak efficiency.
In a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, researchers examined the polyphenols found in the olive oil tree and in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and they discovered a long list of outstanding health benefits from olive oil alone. “We review[ed] the results of the studies on the polyphenols found in the olive tree and in the EVOO [Extra Virgin Olive Oil] and the most recent advances towards their possible clinical use.”
What that means is that it's the polyphenols found inside Mediterranean foods that make the diet so recommended. It’s one of the major reasons that those on the Mediterranean diet are finding such better health altogether.
Babio N., Toledo E., Estruch R., et al. “Mediterranean diets and metabolic syndrome status in the PREDIMED randomized trial”. CMAJ. 2014.
Rigacci S., and Stefani M.. “Nutraceutical Properties of Olive Oil Polyphenols. An Itinerary from Cultured Cells through Animal Models to Humans.”. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2016.
Guasch-Ferré, Marta et al. "Olive Oil Intake And Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease And Mortality In The PREDIMED Study." BioMed Central. 2014.
"Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Preserves Memory And Protects Brain Against Alzheimer's: Study." Temple University. 2017.
LeGendre, O, Breslin, P., and David Foster. "Oleocanthal Rapidly And Selectively Induces Cancer Cell Death Via Lysosomal Membrane Permeabilization." Molecular & Cellular Oncology. 2015.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.