Mediterranean diet meals consist heavily of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, and olive oil. Considering all these are good food choices, it comes as no surprise the diet is beneficial to many problems. The Mediterranean diet health benefits include reduced risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and diabetes, among others. This article discusses one particular benefit: how the diet may work for the people experiencing pain, swelling, and stiffness due to arthritis.
Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits You Must Know
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Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Opting for a Mediterranean diet has demonstrated to help with a number of serious health conditions. These include breast cancer, stomach cancer, and heart disease. Based on research, inflammation of the body contributes to cancers and heart disease. A perfect example is rheumatoid arthritis. Switching to the Mediterranean diet has demonstrated to reduce inflammation and reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
How Did They Do That?
Researchers studied active adults living with rheumatoid arthritis for at least two years. They were interested to see the effects of the Mediterranean diet over the course of three months of study. Using a control group who followed their regular diets, researchers provided sample meals, recipes, and educational nutrition programs to the group following the Mediterranean diet. In addition, the participants in the Mediterranean diet group were also provided with food, such as olive oils and frozen vegetables. These foods made it easier to follow the prescribed Mediterranean diet plan.
To measure the effects of the study on rheumatoid arthritis, they monitored pain scores, number of swollen joints, and amount of time for stiffness to subside. Researchers assessed progress at 3 weeks, 6 weeks and at the end of the study. To add validity to the study, researchers also kept detailed records of each patient. They recorded the number of NSAIDs taken, the level of physical strength, and blood tests to assess inflammation levels.
What Does This Mean for Me?
At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that those following the Mediterranean diet experienced and reported lower levels of pain. They also reported that morning stiffness subsided quicker than it did before starting the diet. Patients in the control group reported a slight increase in arthritic pain levels over the course of this study.
Researchers were able to prove that switching to a plant-based Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and polyphenols reduces the pain and damaging effects of diseases associated with inflammation such as arthritis.
Looking for easy Mediterranean recipes for beginners? Start with this Greek Lemon Chicken recipe from Food Wishes:
The Mediterranean diet health benefits are attainable. The diet itself is simple and easy to follow. It’s basically about making healthier food choices. This includes loading your meals with more plant-based food, opting for natural fat sources like olive oil, and limiting red meat intake.
Have you experienced these Mediterranean diet health benefits? Share your stories in the comments section below.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the nutritional products mentioned are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 21, 2016, and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.