An Introduction to the Mediterranean Diet
Posted on 25 May 2020
The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ describes the traditional eating patterns of many countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy and Sardinia. Eating ‘the Mediterranean way’ has been shown in observational studies and clinical trials to result in multiple benefits for our health, even if we live on the other side of the world! Reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation, dementia, cancer and a longer lifespan are of interest to most people, so let’s dig into it! What is the Mediterranean diet? How do we do it?
- The Mediterranean diet is based around minimally processed plant foods. Grainy bread, whole-grain cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds are the staples
- A diversity of fresh vegetables is consumed daily, particularly coloured ones (tomatoes, beets and collard greens rather than white potatoes)
- Desserts are either fresh fruit, or fruit based. Desserts high in fats and sugars are kept for special occasions
- The main sources of fat are olive oil, nuts and seeds. Cold pressed olive oil is used liberally.
- The main animal food is fish. Where consumed, dairy is primarily in the form of fresh cheese and yogurt
- Red meat is consumed only a few times a month – once every week or two.
- Despite media depictions of Mediterranean life, alcohol consumption is very moderate, with small amounts of wine being consumed with meals.
Eating this way automatically results in a healthful, anti-inflammatory nutrition pattern that is low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fatty acids, phytonutrients and fibre as well as bursting with flavour and satisfaction. The fatty acid profile, high in omega 3 and 9 is thought to be the main contributor to the cholesterol balancing and heart health benefits, and the inclusion of olive oil and nuts adds vitamin E, carotenoids and phytosterols. The variety of plant fibres feeds your microbiome, helps balance blood sugar and is protective against colon cancer. It is a style of eating which nicely complements the goals of our health supplement range, particularly Telomere Health (Mediterranean eating has also been linked with longer telomeres) and Krill Oil.
It is also worth remembering that along with eating well, healthful aspects of traditional Mediterranean life include lots of walking and close social connections. With that in mind, why don’t you click over to our Hazelnut Crusted Salmon recipe and invite a friend over for a Mediterranean inspired meal?