What is the Mediterranean Diet?

by Steven Carney on June 14, 2012

You might have heard of the Mediterranean diet and assumed it was like Italian food: A big bowl of pasta with lots of meat and tomato sauce, and garlic bread on the side. Unfortunately, that’s a more Americanized version of the actual Mediterranean diet! The Mediterranean diet is found around the Mediterranean sea and includes many countries and cultures, from southern Europe around to northern Africa.

What are some key elements?

The diet is rich in fresh, whole foods, including:

  • Fresh or home-grown veggies, fruits and greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish and seafood
  • Beans and legumes
  • Some whole grains and al dente pasta (firm texture)
  • Moderate lean proteins, such as chicken
  • Moderate dairy (eggs, cheese, yogurt)
  • Garlic, onions, herbs and spices
  • Small amounts of red meat
  • healthy fats from olives and extra virgin olive oil

This diet is known to be healthy and helpful for weight loss (or weight stabilization), plus it has anti-inflammatory properties compared to the typical American diet, high in inflammatory foods. The Mediterranean diet is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that can help to maintina health, prevent chronic disease and minimize the effects of aging.

As a result of the more healthy intake of fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, fish/seafood and olives/olive oil (a healthy monounsaturated fat), people eating the Mediterranean diet have less chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer compared to people in the U.S. So the diet has significant health benefits and can be easily adapted to various lifestyle needs.

In fact, this is a basic diet I recommend, although I fine-tune the eating and lifestyle recommendations for every client, depending on their needs. And if you think about it, some Asian diets have some similar patterns, especially when they use lots of veggies with smaller amounts of lean proteins and little red meat.

As always, drop me a line is you have any questions or comments. Use the e-mail icon with social media on the upper right.

Helpful links:

http://nutrition.about.com/od/foodfun/a/mediterranean.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/22540-benefits-mediterranean-diet/

http://www.articlesbase.com/diseases-and-conditions-articles/inflammation-lifestyle-and-disease-new-insights-and-solutions-5474048.html

This study from July, 2013 adds to the health research and benefits of nuts:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715202458.htm

Another study on nut eating (11/2013), and lower risk of weight gain, heart disease and cancer:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120192145.htm

New research article showing significant benefits for the Mediterranean diet:

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-11-mediterranean-diets-health-benefits.html

 © 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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