In recognition of National Nutrition Month, we are focusing on a new diet/eating plan every week. This week - The Mediterranean Diet. Check back with us for a review of a new diet each week.

If you are looking to eat healthier and still enjoy your food, the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet might be right for you.

Interest in the Mediterranean diet began in the 1960s when people noticed that there were fewer deaths due to heart disease coronary heart disease caused fewer deaths in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy than in the U.S. and northern Europe.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthy eating plans recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and World Health organization to promote health and prevent chronic disease.

The basic Mediterranean diet is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. It favors fish, poultry, and eggs over red meat and dairy. It is actually my favorite way to eat. Another important element of the Mediterranean diet involves sharing meals with family and friends, being physically active, and you will like this...enjoying a glass of red wine.  

In addition to its health benefits, the Mediterranean diet has actually been presented as a model for an eco-friendly, sustainable diet for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The basic principles of the Mediterranean diet go hand in hand with sustainability.

  • Low meat consumption.  Eat vegetables as a main course on most days of the week and use meat as a side dish.
  • Consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables. That means no Greek salads in the middle of winter when tomatoes are not in season. Eating in season is something that was done within the traditional Mediterranean diet. Every food had its season and every season had its recipes.
  • Consumption of local foods. The main idea of the diet is to eat what foods are grown and available close to you, not what foods might be considered “Mediterranean”.
  • Cook your own food and use real food. Processed and packaged food is minimal. Cooking your own food not only results in a healthier meal but uses less energy (less processing, less packaging, less transport).

Here are four benefits of being on this diet:

  • 1

    Lasting Weight Loss

    The healthy fats and protein in the Mediterranean Diet keep your blood sugar level on an even keel, making you feel full. When you feel full, you'll eat less and be less tempted to snack.

  • 2

    Helps Prevent Diabetes

    Recently a group of type-2 diabetics was asked to follow the diet. After four years, only about half of them needed diabetes medicine! Every single patient lost weight, which is critical to keeping diabetes in check.

  • 3

    Protect Against Cancer

    A review of 83 studies published in October 2017 in the journal Nutrients suggested the Mediterranean diet may help reduce the risk of cancers such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer and help prevent cancer-related death. Lowering the risk of breast cancer within women by 62 percent.

  • 4

    Reduce Arthritis Pain

    Certain properties of the Mediterranean diet, including its richness in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, may help relieve arthritis symptoms and joint pain.