The Mediterranean way of healthy eating

Apr 12th, 2022 | By | Category: Food

The “Mediterranean diet” isn’t a specific diet, since the 18 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea each have their own dishes and recipes. But it is one of the most well-studied diets, not only for its effects on weight-loss, but also for its effects on cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Because the Mediterranean diet consists of guidelines and not hard-and-fast rules, there are no excluded food groups, only recommendations for limiting certain foods — which makes it a sustainable way of eating.

The guidelines include:

  • Core foods to enjoy every day–whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats such as olive oil.
  • Twice-weekly servings of fish and seafood.
  • Moderate portions of dairy food, eggs and poultry.
  • Infrequent servings of red meat, saturated fat, refined grain, sugar and sweets.
  • Small amounts of red wine (if desired).

And because of the high fiber and generous amounts of healthy fats (which are filling and satiating), hunger isn’t usually a challenge — another boost to the sustainability of this style of eating.

Embracing this diet/lifestyle also means understanding that meals are about more than just calories and nutrients; enjoying your food is important, too. You can do this by shopping for fresh ingredients, using natural ways to enhance flavors, spending time cooking with friends or family, and lingering at the table.

One final aspect of the Mediterranean diet that is frequently overlooked (or at least not emphasized) is the importance of regular, consistent physical activity to ensure heart health and a healthy weight. Walking is a big part of the culture in cities surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

With 74 percent of Americans citing weight-loss as their number 1 health concern, it’s common to want a quick fix. But weight-loss is a complicated issue with many factors contributing to it, not just diet. Plus, research shows that slow, steady weight loss (one or two pounds per week) is the most successful in terms of keeping it off.

MultiCare Health System’s Center for Weight Loss and Wellness doesn’t advocate quick-fix or fad diets, skipping meals, meal replacements, and so on. Instead, the focus is on whole, fresh food and clean eating.

MultiCare said it helps clients get started on a path to healthy eating — and the Mediterranean diet is, arguably, a great place to start. To make it easy, keep your kitchen stocked with these staples:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables (or frozen, with no added sugar, salt, sauces, etc.).
  • Canned or dried beans and chickpeas.
  • Olive oil.
  • Dried lentils.
  • Fish/seafood and poultry.
  • Low-fat/non-fat dairy products.
  • Quinoa.
  • Whole grains (wheat, oats, brown rice).
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Canned tomatoes.
  • Dried spices (oregano, thyme, cumin, paprika, dried mint leaves).
  • Olives.
  • Vinegar.
  • Garlic.

Th

Seafood and fresh vegetables are on the list of food for the Mediterranean diet.
w/sidebar at end

en find recipes that include these ingredients.

 

OLIVE OIL REDUCES CHANCES OF SERIOUS ILLNESS

As reported in January by USA Today, olive oil—a staple of the Mediterranean diet—could lower a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, olive oil is full of healthy fats, nutrients and antioxidants. And during a study from 1990 to 2018 of a combined 91,000-plus U.S. women and men, the ones who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day had 19 percent lower risk of all causes of death and cardiovascular (heart) disease compared to those who rarely or never ate olive oil. They also reduced, by 29 percent, their risk of death from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, by 17 percent from cancer, and by 18 percent from respiratory disease.

The use of olive oil instead of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat had the most success at limiting all causes of death. But lower risks weren’t found when comparing olive oil to vegetable oils, indicating that vegetable and olive oil may have the same health benefits.

Share