The Mediterranean diet has been hailed by health experts as one of the healthiest, balanced, and most nutritious diets in the world! Inspired by the traditional eating and healthy lifestyles of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, this diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and olive oil and is admired for being low in saturated fats and processed foods. It is a way of eating rather than a formal or prescribed diet plan. As May is Mediterranean Diet Month, why not explore this renowned diet…
One standout characteristic of the Mediterranean-style diet is its fresh taste; meals are seasoned with herbs, spices, citrus, flavourful vinegar and high-quality olive oil and are prepared in ways that make the flavours pop. This is also a diet that is known to consume red wine, but what you will find is that it is enjoyed in moderation with a meal. One might enjoy one glass of red wine per day, with water as the main beverage of choice.
Following a Mediterranean diet has many health benefits and has been shown to reduce your risk of developing heart disease and helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar control for those with type 2 diabetes. Those with arthritis have reported that the Mediterranean diet helps their symptoms, including a reduction in swollen and tender joints and the duration of morning stiffness as well as improved general well-being; some early research backs up this theory.
Each country surrounding the Mediterranean Sea has access to different locally grown foods, and the people have different preferences based on culture. However, there are many similarities, and a key part of Mediterranean dining culture is eating with others, being social and sharing healthful nutritious meals.
So how do you give your diet a Mediterranean touch?
- Eat more colour! Aim to include some rich, colourful fruits or vegetables at mealtime.
- Snack on nuts (unsalted).
- Use olive oil: This heart-healthy monounsaturated fat is a great addition to any salad or dish.
- Include beans and pulses in diet: Aim to include them 2-3 times per week.
- Ditch the salt! Flavour food with spices, herbs, garlic and onions instead.
- Eat more fish: Aim to include at least two servings of fish each week.
- If you drink wine, enjoy a glass of wine with your meal…and keep it 1 glass a day. But remember: You don’t need to drink wine to follow a Mediterranean diet!
- Limit sugar. Enjoy the natural sweetness of some fruit.
- Drink water.
- Enjoy a Mediterranean lifestyle! Keep active, get enough rest and eat and share mealtimes together.