You may have heard of the Mediterranean Diet and wondered what all of the fuss is about. May is Mediterranean Diet Month, which we will use as an opportunity to educate you about the diet and its healthful benefits, and also to share Mediterranean Diet Recipes, especially those using one a key ingredient in Mediterranean cooking – extra virgin olive oil!
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is a type of diet traditional to Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain. It has a strong focus on fruits, vegetables, and grains, and little emphasis on meats, and sweets.
Some key components include:
Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil
Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
The Mediterranean Diet is not a low fat diet, but instead focuses on healthy fats – discouraging saturated fats & trans fats (present in hydrogenated oils, butter, processed meats, etc.). It uses main extra virgin olive oil as a primary source of fat, and is mainly monounsaturated fat.
Why should I consider a Mediterranean Diet?
According to the Mayo Clinic, research shows that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and is associated with the reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Because it’s heart healthy, it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even lose weight. According to WebMD, studies have shown that the Mediterranean Diet may be better for weight loss than a low-fat diet.
Is there More to the Mediterranean Diet than Healthy Eating?
Absolutely! The Mediterranean lifestyle promotes daily exercise, as well as sharing meals with others, and overall just enjoying life!