A number of diets have received attention, but the strongest evidence for a beneficial health effect and decreased mortality after switching to a largely plant based diet comes from studies of Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is often cited as beneficial for being low in saturated fat and high
in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. One of the main explanations is thought to be
the health effects of olive oil included in the Mediterranean diet.
The inclusion of red wine in Mediterranean diet, is considered a factor contributing to health as it contains flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties. Dietary factors are only part of the reason for the health benefits enjoyed by certain Mediterranean cultures. A healthy lifestyle (notably a physically active lifestyle or labour) is also beneficial.
There is an inverse association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the incidence of fatal and non fatal heart disease in initially healthy middle aged adults in the Mediterranean region. A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet and healthful lifestyle was associated with more than a 50% lowering
of early death rates.
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that people who followed the Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop depression. A New Zealand study in 2012 and 2013 found the Mediterranean diet could reduce the risks of Alzheimer's disease after only six weeks.
According to a 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal, the traditional Mediterranean diet provides substantial protection against type 2 diabetes. A high adherence to the diet was associated with an 83% relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.
Mediterranean diet and women:
A 2008 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine examined the effects of three diets: low-carb, low-fat, and Mediterranean. The low-carb and Mediterranean diet resulted in the greatest weight loss, in women, the Mediterranean diet produced more weight loss on average than the low-carb diet.
Hypertension: Mediterranean Diet, articulated into extensive lifestyles interventions in a clinical follow-up study, improves renal artery circulation, decreasing renal resistive index, even without significant modifications of Insulin Resistance. This is a beneficial effect and modifies the pathophysiology of essential hypertension.