What is the Mediterranean Diet?

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Health Researchers noticed that cultures in the Med region had lower rate of cardiovascular disease and determined that the food they ate had something to do with it.

Here are the general component of Mediterranean Diet:

  • Plant foods as the main source of daily calories intake. Such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes (lentils, beans, peas)
  • Olive Oil as the main source of fat calories. Some research suggests that extra virgin olive oil may contain beneficial substances that other oils lose in processing steps.
  • Low to moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt with meals
  • Minimal amounts of red meat, with moderate amounts of fish and poultry as the preferred sources of animal protein.
  •  Small amounts of sweets, eaten occasionally. Fresh fruit with meals instead of desserts 
  • For those who drink alcohol, wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts, usually with meals.

What the science says: The largest test of the Med diet to date was PREMI-MED, a randomized clinical trial in Spain involving nearly 7500 people 55 to 80 years old. Participants were told to eat either a reduced fat diet or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or extra virgin olive oil.

After about five years, people who ate the supplemented diet were up to 30% less likely to have heart attacks and strokes or die from heart related causes.

It’s not only about food, because exercise patterns and other factors probably also play a role. The Mediterranean diet is really more of a lifestyle. 

Ref: Harvard Health Publishing 

Published: May, 2015

By Caroll Kerner

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