The Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Research has shown this diet and overall lifestyle can help you lose weight, reduce incidence of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and is now associated with a reduced risk in mental decline. So, if you’re looking for a healthier approach to eating, the Mediterranean Diet might be right for you.
But what exactly is the Mediterranean Diet? The Mediterranean Diet is not so much a diet in the sense of a strict eating regimen where certain foods are forbidden, but rather like an eating style. It incorporates all of the aspects of healthy eating but focuses on the wonderful flavors, foods, and cooking style found in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece, Southern France, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey. Although each country in the Mediterranean region provides its own variation in diet, all share 8 common principles characteristic to the authentic Mediterranean Diet.
8 Principles of the Mediterranean Diet:
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, including beans and lentils
- Enjoy generous amounts of monounsaturated fats, MUFA, found in olive oil and canola oil
- Eat small portions of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts – also high in MUFA
- Drink red wine, in moderation – one to two glasses daily – and refresh yourself with at least 6 glasses of water per day
- Choose lean proteins such as chicken, ham, and turkey and limit red meat to a few times a month
- Eat fish on a weekly basis
- Eat small amounts of dairy, including cheese and yogurt, daily
- Engage in regular exercise, such as walking on a daily basis
In addition to these 8 main principles, foods in the Mediterranean Diet are always fresh, in season, and are prepared with fresh herbs including cilantro, parsley, mint, rosemary, thymus, basil, dill, oregano and fennel. In addition to this eating style, people in the Mediterranean have a more relaxed eating style, where they eat slowly and engage in lively conversation with their dining companions.
If you’re serious about following a Mediterranean style of eating, check out MediterrAsian for ideas on recipes, menus, and shopping lists that will help you stock your cupboards and pantry with these healthy foods.