The Mediterranean diet is a style of eating inspired by the traditional eating habits of denizens of that particular area. It encompasses the cuisines of Greece, Italy, France and Spain. Though the citizens of each country may have slightly different cuisines, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based eating using healthy fats, primarily olive oil. The diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, nuts and beans. These fresh whole foods provide an arsenal of disease-fighting antioxidants. Red meat and processed foods with added sugar are eaten sparingly.
The benefit of the Mediterranean diet most commonly cited is improved heart health. Studies have shown lower heart disease death rates for citizens of the Mediterranean countries. Following a Mediterranean style diet helps improve heart health by:
● Keeping cholesterol at a healthy level
● Lowering inflammation
● Helping arteries stay flexible to avoid plaque build-up
The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to reduce the risk for certain cancers, depression, cognitive decline and bone fractures.
Fish instead of red meat. Brown rice instead of a white bread. A handful of nuts instead of chips. Olive oil instead of butter. Add to that, lots of vegetables and fruit. Simple food trade-offs like these can put the healthy power of the Mediterranean diet on your plate.