The Mediterranean diet is known for being heart-friendly. Research has shown that it can help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases due to its lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol.

Besides being heart-friendly, Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and certain cancers. And that’s proven. Here are the benefits of eating Mediterranean diet:

1. It keeps you agile. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to get weak because of age, you should integrate Mediterranean foods in your diet. Its nutrients can lower risk of developing muscle weakness and some signs of debility. Experts confirmed about 70 percent decrease.

2. Promotes longevity. Simply put: when the heart is healthy, so do other organs. In fact, research shows that there is a 20 percent decreased of death at any age. That’s, if you’re living with a Mediterranean Diet.

3. Shield you from type 2 diabetes. How? That’s because Mediterranean diet is rich in fiber. As a result, it slows down your digestion. Also, it prevents huge swings in blood sugar.

4. Reduces the risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and strokes. Researchers are convinced that Mediterranean can boost blood sugar and good cholesterol levels. Since it’s rich in antioxidants, which reduce oxidative stress, the risk of Parkinson’s disease also will be reduced in half.

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What about the myths of a Mediterranean diet?

Myth 1: This diet is expensive. Not true. If you’re eating meals out of beans, plants, whole grains, and lentils—good source of protein—then you’re diet doesn’t cost a lot. In fact, packaged and processed foods are more expensive. Probably, the reason why you think it costs too much is because of some fancy recipes associated in Mediterranean cuisines.

Myth 2: Drink lots of red wine to keep the heart healthy. The truth is, it’s the other way around. While drinking one glass a day (for women) or two glasses a day (for men) has proven to have health benefits, drinking too much has the opposite effect. Be careful.

Myth 3: Mediterranean diet is all about eating bowls of pasta and bread. Nope, Mediterranean folks actually don’t eat a heaping plate of pasta (unlike Americans). Typically, pasta is just a side dish—about ½-cup to 1-cup serving.

Myth 4: Mediterranean diet will make you lose weight. It’s not all about the food; physical exercises also play a huge role. Think about the geographical location of Greece: If you live there, your daily walks may include walking up and down the steep hills. That’s one of the factors you’ll lose weight.

Myth 5: It’s all about the food. In continuation of myth number 4, it’s not about the food alone; it’s the lifestyle. The Mediterranean people keep their body healthy by integrating physical activities in their daily lives. So don’t think that following Mediterranean diet is enough. You have to complement it with physical activities, too.

Ready to have a healthier and longer life? Eat Mediterranean diet and exercise regularly.

Top 5 Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet