The main parts of the Mediterranean diet are foods that are low in saturated fat, rich in healthy oils, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables (plus exercise). In a healthy vegetarian food patterns, meat and seafood are not consumed, but eggs and dairy are most frequently included (Martinez Gonzales et al 2015). You don’t need any particular cooking skills to produce delicious meals fitting the Mediterranean Diet.
Choose healthy fats in your diet!
Olives and their oil are one of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean diet, you can go for four to six servings per day (a serving could be 1 tsp. of olive oil, 5 olives or 1/8 of an avocado). Olive oil delivers healthy monounsaturated fats and plant compounds called polyphenols (Rebecca Toback, 2015).
If eaten for a number of years, it has been shown to reduce the risks of developing heart disease (Heart disease is still the most common cause of death and premature death) in the UK. It causes around 101,000 deaths each year, (1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women die from heart disease). It can also prevent cancer, high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Following the diet has also been linked with a reduced risk of early death and has proved a successful strategy for healthy weight reduction.
Other benefits of the diet are that it is low in processed foods and sugar. It helps you lose weight in healthy way, it improves heart health, it helps fight cancer, it also prevents and treats diabetes. It also protects cognitive health and can improve your mood, it can also de-stress and relaxes you says (2015 DrAxe).
Unhealthy lifestyle, diet and obesity have also been linked to type 2 diabetes, raised cholesterol and high blood pressure. These conditions can combine to make medical risks and problems more severe. Diet, lifestyle factors and obesity are also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. Being substantially overweight can bring on high blood pressure and gallbladder disease.
The ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet
The ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet has high quantities of: a variety of vegetables, a variety of fruit, legumes, cereals and cereal products. Moderate quantities of: fish, white meats, nuts, low-fat dairy produce, wine (men: 1-3 units per day, women: 1-2 units per day) with meals (Catherine Féart et al 2012). Low quantities of red meat, eggs and sweets. A high mono-unsaturated fat (olive oil) to saturated animal fat (fatty red meat) also low amounts of added salt, in many cases, herbs can be used for flavouring in place of excess salt.
The Mediterranean Diet is a pattern of food proportions, rather than a set of particular products or recipes. As such, there are many possibilities to be creative using locally sourced and affordable products, according to your taste (EMIS Group plc. Dr Gordon Brooks, 2013). With fat being a major source of calories, restrictions can be placed on total amounts used in food preparation if setting targets for losing weight.
People who had closely followed the Mediterranean Diet were found to have reduction in the chance of developing type 2 diabetes (EMIS Group plc. Dr Gordon Brooks, 2013). So why don’t you try it out and see the benefits for yourself! see how the Mediterranean diet can benefit you in so many ways.
Féart, C., Samieri, C., Allès, B. & Barberger-Gateau, P. 2013, “Potential benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on cognitive health”, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 140-152.
Martinez-Gonzalez, M., Salas-Salvado, J., Estruch, R., Corella, D., Fito, M., Ros, E. & PREDIMED INVESTIGATORS 2015, “Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: Insights From the PREDIMED Study”, PROGRESS IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES, vol. 58, no. 1, pp. 50-60
DrAxe (2015) 8 Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet [online] http://draxe.com/mediterranean-diet/
Original Author: Dr Gordon Brooks (2013) Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet [online] [Last Checked: 13/06/2013]http://patient.info/health/health-benefits-of-the-mediterranean-diet
Picture 1 – Rebecca Toback (2015) 10 Things to Know About the Mediterranean diet [online] http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20793870_3,00.html
Picture 2 – Claire Bernard 14 May 2014 Exploring the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: polyphenols, olive oil and longevity [online]http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/onmedicine/2014/05/14/exploring-the-health-benefits-of-the-mediterranean-diet-polyphenols-olive-oil-and-longevity/
Picture 3 – Sedra Jamil 2015 Mediterranean kebabs [26/11/2015]
Picture 4 – The eMeals blog, 2013. What is the Mediterranean Diet? [online] http://blog.emeals.com/what-is-the-mediterranean-diet/