Mediterranean DietJul 13, 2022
The Mediterranean Diet is not really a “diet” but a way to describe meal patterns that are typical in Greece, Italy and Spain. This way of eating has received much recognition as a healthy way to eat, and “US News and World Report” has recognized it as the “best diet overall” for three years in a row. This way of eating focuses on lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, and olive oil and red wine in moderation.
There is no butter, limited red meat, and no processed grains or refined sugars. There is also a focus on enjoying meals with family and friends, avoiding snacking, and getting regular exercise. It is not a “diet,” but a lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to have many health benefits including:
- Improved insulin sensitivity and decreased risk of metabolic syndrome,
- Reduced inflammation,
- Lower blood pressure,
- Lower the risk of obesity,
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Mediterranean Diet is made up of:
- Plant foods (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds), • Fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert,
- Olive oil as a principal source of fat,
- Dairy products (cheese and yogurt),
- Fish and poultry in low to moderate amounts,
- Eggs (0-4) weekly,
- Red meat consumed in low amounts,
- Wine consumed with meals in low to moderate amounts,
- Low in saturated fat but high in monosaturated fat.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is shown below:
If you want to try the Mediterranean Diet, you can start with adding one of these tips per week.
- Cut out processed sugars and grains and stick with whole foods
- Eat more nuts and olives
- Switch from processed grains to whole grains
- Add vegetables to every meal
- Eat less meat and consider having 2-3 servings of fish each week
- Consider wine in moderation in place of other alcoholic beverages
- Consider fresh fruit as dessert
- Add cold pressed olive oil to meals