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What Does Mediterranean Diet Mean? & Why We Should Be Following It

posted on 9/13/2016 Facebook Facebook

A word that has been common place amongst health professionals, dieticians, nutritionists as well as laymen alike, the ‘Mediterranean diet’ trend has caught up swiftly amongst the masses. Projected for it many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels without statins, ability to prevent dementia and heart disease, and keeping you in shape, Mediterranean diet arranges the food of our ancestors beautifully on a plate. 

Based on the traditional foods that our predecessors used to eat back in the days and be healthy and not be crippled with so many illnesses have been brought back to life and for a good reason. The scientist Ancel Keys and the cookery writer Elizabeth David were the two prime pioneers who helped open the eyes of northern Europeans to the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, following which the trend slowly crawled through the globe. However, we wonder how many amongst us have actually got a hang of what the Mediterranean diet actually is?

In most honest opinion, it is possibly the most apparent and potential answer to the increasing obesity catastrophe crippling our healthcare systems. However, having said that very few actually understand what the diet is, most do not follow it and the rest are just too lazy to find more. The evidence continues to mount, nevertheless, of how following the Mediterranean way of life could be the biggest life change you have been in need all this while. 

Mediterranean Diet 101: What You Need To Know
To begin, it is not a weight loss diet such as Atkins or Dukan or the few thousands out there. It is no more than a pattern of eating rather than being a perspective diet. The concept is based on rural life where people used to eat what they grew; however, this concept is fast disappearing. 

While everyone seems to have their own definition for Mediterranean diet, it is nothing more than an eating style based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes such as beans, lentils, peas and peanuts, whole grains and especially olive oil. Mind you this is not a vegetarian diet and the inclusion of meat and seafood is in moderation and based on the proximity of the people to the sea. However, red meat and foods rich in sugar seem to be excluded from the menu majorly and is considered a rare treat.
 
Experts today argue that the diet is quite rich in carbohydrates and hence need to be modeled to suit the needs of our much overwhelmed sedentary lives. Besides, there is more to Mediterranean diet than just the food on the plate. It comprises the cultural ritual of eating together, sharing food and emphasizes on the values of hospitality, traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, processing, and cooking in a particular manner.

We are constantly presented with triumphant research stories which highlight the many benefits of the Mediterranean way of life, especially the Mediterranean platter. The most recent study was presented at a heart disease conference in Rome found those who had a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were a third less likely to die early, compared with those who ate larger quantities of red meat, such as beef, and butter. 

These Foods Are Included In The Mediterranean Diet 
•Fresh fruits and vegetables (Green leafy ones and non-starchy foods like eggplant,  cauliflower, tomatoes, fennel0
•Olive oil
•Nuts and seeds
•Legumes and beans
•Whole grains
•Wild caught fish such as salmon and seas food
•Organic eggs, pasture raised poultry, cheese
•Wine in moderation

References:
1.Willett WC. The Mediterranean diet: science and practice. Public Health Nutr.2006 Feb;9(1A):105-10. Review. PubMed PMID: 16512956.
2.Gerber M, Hoffman R. The Mediterranean diet: health, science and society. Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S4-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003912. PubMed PMID:26148921.
3.Esposito K, Giugliano D. Mediterranean diet and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2014 Mar;30 Suppl 1:34-40. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2516. Review. PubMed PMID: 24357346.
4.La Vecchia C. Mediterranean diet and cancer. Public Health Nutr. 2004 Oct;7(7):965-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 15482626.
5.Estruch R et al; PREDIMED Study Investigators. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. N Engl J Med. 2013 Apr 4;368(14):1279-90. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1200303. Epub 2013 Feb 25. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2014 Feb 27;370(9):886. PubMed PMID: 23432189.
6.Safouris A, Tsivgoulis G, Sergentanis TN, Psaltopoulou T. Mediterranean Diet and Risk of Dementia. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2015;12(8):736-44. PubMed PMID:26159192.

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