The Mediterranean Diet is an eating strategy that has received a considerable amount of attention from the scientific community and the media. It is praised as a heart healthy eating plan that also comes with a range of additional potential advantages such as the potential for weight loss.
This eating plan has undergone a number of different studies of different natures, sizes and purposes and many have brought about positive results.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet combines well balanced nutrition with the traditional food preparation methods used in the Mediterranean region. These flavors have been used as a part of that culture for a long time, but interest in it as a healthy lifestyle started in the 1960s.
At that time, researchers observed that people living in the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece had a lower prevalence of coronary heart disease and that it caused fewer deaths than was the case in northern Europe and the United States. Studies into the regions have shown that the traditional way of eating is indeed linked with a reduced risk of factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
As a result of the research into the Mediterranean Diet, it has become one of the healthy eating plans the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends for the prevention of chronic illness and the promotion of overall health.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) also recognizes this eating style as a sustainable healthy dietary pattern. The United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognizes it as an intangible cultural asset.
The American Heart Association also speaks very highly of this style of eating and the benefits it can provide to the cardiovascular system. In fact, it praises the Mediterranean Diet as being one of the healthiest ways that a person can eat on a regular basis. It points out that expert judges in diet, nutrition and medicine recommend this way to eat as one of the best options for people to choose.
What’s Involved in the Mediterranean Diet?
To follow the Mediterranean Diet, you will need to eat in a way similar to the traditional cuisines of peoples traditionally living along the Mediterranean Sea. This means that there isn’t a specific strict way of eating. After all, this diet is made up of meals eaten by people from multiple countries over time. People don’t naturally choose only a small number of very specific dishes.
Instead, it is more of a style of eating. The traditional Mediterranean Diet is typically high in fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and olive oil.
The primary parts of this type of eating strategy include:
- Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats each day
- Eating poultry, fish, eggs and beans each week
- Eating a moderate amount of dairy products
- Eating a limited amount of red meat
Other additional factors often valued as a part of the Mediterranean Diet are enjoying one glass of red wine on occasion, remaining physically active, and eating meals with friends and family.