There is no real Mediterranean Diet – you know, the ones you read in diet books that offer set meal plans and do’s and don’ts with endless lists of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and of course, let’s not forget the snacks. (or maybe we should). The more recent habit of the American Diet is the increased eating opportunities fueled by the fact that we can eat just about anywhere and that mainly was the desire of big food companies (for more profits). But more about that in a future post.
“Over the span of more than eight decades, clinical research has continued to confirm that eating the Mediterranean way is a sound strategy for lifelong health. At its heart, The Mediterranean diet is precisely the way nutrition experts have been urging us to eat. It’s built on a foundation of whole, mostly unprocessed foods like whole grains, beans, and nuts. It embraces fruits and vegetables with abandon while being stingier with red meat and sweet treats. It includes moderate amounts of fish, eggs and dairy products though vegan and vegetarian versions are doable. It’s sprinkled with heart healthy vegetable oils , mostly olive oil, rather than saturated fat rich butter or lard and it can even include, if desired, a little alcohol traditionally red wine, enjoyed in moderation as part of a meal.”
“People who follow a Mediterranean diet also tend to live longer and perhaps age more gracefully. A recent meta analysis of four studies involving elderly patients found that those who adhered most closely to a Mediterranean style eating pattern had significantly less risk of becoming frail, an important measure of quality of life for older adults.”
The components of the diet are generally plant-based that give us ample vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber, and good fats and carbohydrates. Long-term studies have shown lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and a reduced risk of some cancers (breast, prostate, and colorectal).
“Encouraging research suggests that a Mediterranean pattern of eating may also have benefits for the brain. Several studies have linked the eating patterns to lower rates of depression, others notice a small but significantly lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and of progressing to Alzheimer’s disease.”
Source: Joyce Hendley. Mediterranean Diet: A delicious path to lifelong health. Eating Well Magazine.
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