Mediterranean Diet Benefits Like Walking 4,000 Steps

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New Study Shows Med Diet Health Benefits

Updated 8th January 2024

Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits
Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits


  • Following the Mediterranean Diet (including healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil) can benefit health as much as walking 4000 steps daily.
  • New study shows links between diet, fitness and metabolism.
  • The Mediterranean Style Diet Score (MDS) is associated with heart health.
  • Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil are a key element of the Mediterranean Diet and a source of unsaturated fat.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is associated with greater health benefits than other olive oils as it has no chemical processing and has a higher polyphenol (antioxidant) content.


Study Shows Health Benefits Of Med Diet With Olive Oil Equal To Walking 4000 steps.

Following A Mediterranean Diet can bring health benefits akin to walking 4000 steps a day, according to a new study.

The research – published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology – explores the relationship between diet, fitness and metabolism.

Commenting on the study in Medical News Today, Michael Mi, a cardiologist at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and study author said:

“The improvement in fitness we observed in participants with better diets was similar to the effect of taking 4,000 more steps each day,”

The study, as also reported in Olive Oil Times, has some interesting insights to offer. It suggests that gobbling down a healthy diet might just be the secret behind better metabolic health. The study delves deep into the blood samples of participants to find-out the metabolites associated with poor or favorable diet and fitness.

As The Olive Oil Times explains:

While the metabolic data confirms that eating healthily is related to better fitness, it was inconclusive that eating well caused better fitness or that better fitness inspired healthier eating.

Researchers studied 2,380 people in the Framington Heart Study, 54 percent of whom were women with an average age of 54.

Participants were evaluated for physical fitness, food frequency, fasting blood concentrations of 201 metabolites and a dietary quality evaluation.

The Mediterranean Diet And Alternative Healthy Eating Index

The Mediterranean Diet has become increasingly popular in recent years to achieve better health, lower risk of chronic diseases, and weight loss. This eating pattern emphasizes whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and lean proteins, while minimizing processed and red meats, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates. One of the key components of the Mediterranean Diet is the use of extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants.

Studies have shown that following this eating pattern is associated with improved cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and longevity. However, an Alternative Healthy Eating Index has also been developed as a tool to measure overall diet quality. This index considers a broader set of healthy eating components, including intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins, as well as the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fats. Regardless of which approach one chooses to follow, incorporating more whole, nutrient-dense foods and less processed, high-calorie foods into one’s diet is a crucial step toward better health.

In the Framington Heart Study, the dietary quality was assessed by two measures associated with good heart health: the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) and the Mediterranean-Style Diet Score (MDS). In both indexes, the higher score indicates a better outcome.

“AHEI is more oriented toward reducing the risk of chronic disease.”

Natalie McCormick, a medical research fellow at Harvard Medical School

Researchers examined the connection between fitness and diet, evaluating factors such as daily physical activity level, energy intake, body mass index, smoking status, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, age and sex.

Compared to an average score, the data for AHEI was 67, an increase of 13 points. The data for MDS was approximately 12, a five-point increase above the average.

Getting 10,000 steps per day is considered the gold standard for health. However, Jack Craig, a certified personal trainer for Inside Bodybuilding, told Medical News Today the average number of steps per day most sedentary people are getting in the United States is 4,000.

“Mediterranean diets are among the most notorious heart-healthy diets,” he added. “They are rich in ingredients. Walking throughout the day, even in short five-minute breaks, can reduce blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as elevate your mood.”

Jack Craig

According to Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it is easy to incorporate healthy AHEI foods into the daily diet.

Healthy Fat Like Extra Virgin Olive Oil Key To Mediterranean Diet

Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Mediterranean Diet
Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Mediterranean Diet

Top choices to focus on include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, vegetable protein, fish and healthy fats.

In a Harvard Medical School interview, McManus offers suggestions for easy dietary upgrades.

She suggested choosing five vegetables a day. Aim for four servings of fruits daily and five to six servings a day of whole grains. Emphasize vegetable protein and a weekly dose of fish. Enjoy the benefits of unsaturated fats, such as olive oil. Swap saturated fats such as butter in favor of healthy oils.

“An easy way to incorporate olive oil into your health routine is by adding two tablespoons into your morning smoothie,” Rahman said.

Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is A Vital Part Of The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet including extra virgin olive oil offers a host of health benefits, particularly including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.

There is not a single Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles and all include extra virgin olive oil as a key constituent.

Olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet. The people will eat slower and in a more enjoyable eating. People who eat a Mediterranean diet have a variety of health benefits. The olive oil in the Mediterranean diet can quickly satisfy hunger and lead to fewer total calories ingested at mealtime. It is unclear if any single component of this diet is responsible for these health benefits or if it is a combination of olive oil and a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fish.

Extra virgin olive oil has no chemical processing. (Nearly every other vegetable oil has been detoxified and refined with steam and solvents). Fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil can be eaten immediately and retains the natural flavours, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy products of the ripe olive fruit.