Make sure you consult with your health care practitioner.
Hallmarks of holistic nutrition include unrefined, unprocessed, organic and locally grown whole foods. It's an approach to eating that very consciously considers everything that's eaten and focuses on eating for health above all else.
There's even more evidence that one type of diet is the best for your body and brain: Mediterranean diet
US News and World Report 2020 ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best to follow.
Recipe: Hummus, tzatziki, dill, raisins and olives, suggesting to be enjoyed with crispy pita.
Major Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
1. Low in Processed Foods and Sugar
The diet primarily consists of foods and ingredients that are very close to nature, including olive oil, legumes like peas and beans, fruits, vegetables, unrefined cereal products, and small portions of animal products (that are always “organic” and locally produced). In contrast to the typical American diet, it’s very low in sugar and practically free of all GMOs or artificial ingredients, preservatives and flavor enhancers. For something sweet, people in the Mediterranean enjoy fruit or small quantities of homemade desserts made with natural sweeteners like honey.
Beyond plant foods, another major staple of the diet is locally caught fish and a moderate consumption of cow, goat or sheep cheeses and yogurts that are included as a way to receive healthy fats and cholesterol.
2. Helps You Lose Weight in a Healthy Way
If you’re looking to lose weight without being hungry and maintain that weight in a realistic way that can last a lifetime, this might be the plan for you. The diet is both sustainable and worthwhile, and has been undertaken by many people all around the world with great success related to weight loss and more, as it works to help manage weight and reduce fat intake naturally and easily due to eating many nutrient-dense foods.
There’s room for interpretation in the Mediterranean diet, whether you prefer to eat lower carb, lower protein or somewhere in between. The diet focuses on consumption of healthy fats while keeping carbohydrates relatively low.
3. Improves Heart Health
Research shows that greater adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet, including plenty of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 foods, is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, especially heart disease.
4. Helps Fight Cancer
According to the European Journal of Cancer Prevention,
The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favorable effect of a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids and high amounts of fiber, antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruit, vegetables and olive oil.
A plant based diet, one that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which can help fight cancer in nearly every way — providing antioxidants, protecting DNA from damage, stopping cell mutation, lowering inflammation and delaying tumor growth. Many studies point to the fact that olive oil might also be a natural cancer treatment and decrease the risk of colon and bowel cancers. It might have a protective effect on the development of cancer cells due to lowered inflammation and reduced oxidative stress, plus its tendency to promote balanced blood sugar and a healthier weight.
5. Prevents or Treats Diabetes
Evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet serves as an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern, which could help fight diseases related to chronic inflammation, including metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
6. Protects Cognitive Health and Can Improve Your Mood
Eating the Mediterranean way might be a natural Parkinson's disease treatment, a great way to preserve your memory, and a step in the right direction for naturally treating Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Cognitive disorders can occur when the brain isn’t getting a sufficient amount of dopamine, an important chemical necessary for proper body movements, mood regulation and thought processing.
Healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, plus plenty of anti-inflammatory veggies and fruits, are known to fight age-related cognitive decline. These help counter the harmful effects of exposure to toxicity, free radicals, inflammation-causing poor diets or food allergies, which can all contribute to impaired brain function. This is one reason why adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked with lower rates of Alzheimer’s. Probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir also help build a healthy gut, which we now know is tied to cognitive function, memory and mood disorders.
9. Can Help Fight Depression
A 2018 study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found evidence that healthy dietary choices, those in line with eating the Mediterranean diet, can help reduce the risk for depression. Researchers involved in the study investigated the mental-health effects of adherence to a range of diets — including the Mediterranean diet, the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH diet), and the Dietary Inflammatory Index. They found that the risk of depression was reduced the most when people followed a traditional Mediterranean diet and overall ate a variety of anti-inflammatory foods.
What is it about anti-inflammatory foods that helps boost your mood and mental health? Inflammation is frequently named as the root cause of many mood and psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and social withdrawal. The same lifestyle habits that tend to activate inflammation— such as a poor diet, chronic stress and sleep deprivation — also tend to produce brain states that contribute to mental illness. A nutrient-dense diet seems to help directly protect parts of the brain, while other dietary/lifestyle changes like getting good sleep, having a mindful approach to meals, planning meals ahead of time, and limiting stress can also lead to a calmer mindset. Source: Dr Axe