Mediterranean Diet Part 2: Overview
The Mediterranean diet (Med diet) comes from the region around the Mediterranean Sea. The lifestyle and food traditions from this region have been practiced for generations, and are still prevalent today. The Med diet has been researched for its health benefits and has been found to help reduce risks of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s , and Alzheimer’s disease. The Med diet is low in added sugars, bleached flour, and other additives, and because of these factors the Med diet can also be considered anti-inflammatory.
Vegetables- Fresh vegetables are a huge part of the Med diet. Raw or slightly cooked drizzled with olive oil is how they are usually prepared. A wide variety of vegetables are used, and this is the base to the meal.
Grains- Whole grains like wheat, oats, and rice are used in the Med diet. The grains are consumed whole with as little processing as possible.
Fruits- whole fresh fruit and no-sugar-added juice is ever present in the Med diet. Fruit is consumed in moderation.
Olive oil- Olives and olive oil are classics in the Med diet. Extra Virgin olive oil is used for cooking, baking, and as dressing on vegetables. Olives and olive oil are beneficial for their good fat content and phytonutrients.
Nuts, beans, legumes, seeds- A good source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. They can add flavor to dishes, or be used as a quick snack.
Herbs and spices- Used to add flavor and health benefits to dishes while also eliminating the need to add extra fat and salt.
Dairy- cheese and yogurt are used regularly in the Med diet, but only in low to moderate amounts. The dairy is a good source of calcium.
Seafood- fish and shellfish are used in many Med diet dishes. They are great sources of protein and healthy omega-3 fats. These dishes are not fried or battered.
Eggs- Eggs are used for their protein content. They are often utilized in baking.
Meat- Meat is eaten in small portions, usually using lean cuts. Poultry is often used more often than other meats. 90 % lean/10 % fat red meats are used when red meat is consumed.
Wine- Wine is consumed often, but in moderation in the Med diet. People should only consume wine if medically able to do so. 5 ounces a day per women, and 10 ounces a day for men is the approximate amount.
Water- Proper hydration is essential for body type and physical activity. A good measurement is to drink half your body weight (lbs) in ounces (oz) per day.
Moderation- Eating in a moderate way helps you stay healthy with a balanced diet.
Healthy lifestyle- The Med diet is also accompanied by a lot of daily physical activity. They often walk everywhere they travel, spend time tending their gardens, and even include more strenuous exercising.
Meals with Company- The Med diet includes the belief in enjoyment and pleasure with food and the entire eating experience. Meals and drinks are shared with friends and family whenever possible.
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This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.