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The Mediterranean Diet Isn’t Just Another Fad

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Unfamiliar with the “Mediterranean Diet”? It started to develop a bit of a buzz a couple of years back but then may have been pushed to the back of the crowd, due to the incessant bombardment of new fad diets and weight-loss crazes that fill our worlds, as well the growing vegan movement, based on a plant based diet. The Mediterranean Diet is essentially formed around the eating habits of cultures bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Studies have shown it to be beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular diseases.

So was the Mediterranean Diet “just another craze” or does it actually have some substance behind it? This month we also read about it in Pop Sugar, due to host and trainer in The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper, who suffered from a major heart attack early this year. Well, the short answer is “Yes, there is definitely substance behind the Mediterranean Diet”. But what exactly is it?

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The basics of the Mediterranean Diet are as follows: The emphasis is on plant foods, including lots of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit, along with nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains; plenty of healthy fats from olive oil and nuts; fish and poultry twice per week; red meat consumption limited to a few times per month; enhancing flavour with herbs and spices more than salt; the main sources of dairy are cheese and yoghurt; and consuming red wine in moderation (which means one glass with dinner and not necessarily every night).
Two other rather important factors not to forget are plenty of exercise, as well as enjoying food with your nearest and dearest.


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Mediterranean Diet and its benefits

The benefits from following the Mediterranean Diet are plenty. Eating lots of vegetables is a fantastic start to any nutritional guide. Vegetables are incredibly nutrient-dense, containing fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They also (for the most part) are not energy-dense, i.e. not high in calories compared to their weight. This means you can eat pretty much as many vegetables as you like without having to worry about blowing your calorie budget (if you have one).
Another important point here is the emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce. This means less processing, less transport, less cold storage and maximum nutrient value, not to mention almost certainly being cheaper! We’ve grown accustomed to having everything available all of the time that we don’t think about the impacts that can have on the environment and the quality of our food. The protein sources are healthy types, like oily fish, poultry and plant-based proteins, too. These, along with olive oil, have a positive effect on heart health.
Red meat is part of the diet but is limited to a few times per month, showing that red meat isn’t necessarily a demon. It should just be a sometimes food, rather than part of every evening meal.

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Health impacts from following the Mediterranean Diet

The other stand-out factor with the Mediterranean Diet (which is common throughout many “diets”) is the fact that sweets/refined sugar and heavily processed foods are a rarity. Any nutrition programme or dietary guidelines that have this as a basis are going to make positive changes to anyone, especially those coming from a typical “Western” style, white-bread-and-red-meat diet, which is closely linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Highlights

The best part about the Mediterranean Diet for me is that it doesn’t have to involve a huge list of restrictions and strict protocols to follow. It’s based around eating a variety of real, whole foods, still occasionally enjoying treats you love (including red wine), and sharing the experience of eating with others.

As always, we love to hear what you think. Please leave your comments and share the love as there is plenty here! 

0 replies
    • Daen
      Daen says:

      Thanks for the comment, SJ! Yes, it really doesn’t have to be super restrictive or painfully complicated to eat well. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Reply
  1. Ellie www.newcreationsministries.wordpress.com/
    Ellie www.newcreationsministries.wordpress.com/ says:

    Excellent advice and recommendation. Perhaps It’s only because it’s one of the few I highly endorse and believe great minds think alike, 🙂 and I love it!!! It’s incredibly balanced and gives responsibility to the dieter to choose sensible foods based on their nutritional needs of the day.

    The only revision to your post I would make is that newbies might believe this diet just came out a few years ago. The Mediterranean Diet buzz has been around more than a few years – actually for centuries and became popular in America in the 1940s. It kind of sounded like it just came out. (I’ve been following this sensible diet since the ’70s. ) But on second thought maybe people will jump on the bandwagon if they think it’s the newest thing, right? Smart, very smart, 🙂

    Your blog is one of my favorites and you write beautifully.I so appreciate others who recommend nutritionally-based plans rather than all those gimmicks and fads of the week. Blessings back and I’m retweeting this post

    Reply

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