What Is a Mediterranean Diet?

Written by on May 8, 2013 in Health - No comments | Print this page

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food-pyramidThere are so many diets that come out these days, it is hard to know what is the best for your health.

Should you avoid gluten? Skip carbohydrates completely?

Avoid fat? And which fats are good fats or bad fats? Is it okay to drink while dieting?

There is so much you need to know, that it can be very confusing.

This is why the recent news that the Mediterranean Diet has shown some real promise is so important. The New York Times reported that the New England Journal of Medicine has shown in a study that the Mediterranean Diet can help prevent heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes.

The study, the first comprehensive look at the diet, estimated that 30 percent of those health issues could be avoided with a Mediterranean Diet.

So what is in the Mediterranean Diet?

You may be wondering what the Mediterranean Diet is. It is important to note that it is not an excuse to pig out and eat Italian and Greek food like it’s going out of style. Here are the important components of the diet:

  • Instead of butter or other vegetable oils, consume at least four tablespoons of olive oil each day. This is not a low-fat diet, but medical research has shown that olive oil is much better for you than butter or margarine.
  • Eat lots of vegetables. Unless it is French fries, many Americans do not eat enough vegetables in their diet. Make sure you get at least two servings a day.

  • Eat enough fruit. The Mediterranean Diet includes at least three servings of fruit a day, including fruit juices.
  • Consume red meat sparingly – only a few times a month. Instead, choose white meat over red meat. That means things like chicken, turkey, or even rabbit meat.
  • Eat fish at least three times a week.  Fish is good for you.
  • Stay away from commercial sweets, cakes, cookies and other pastries.
  • Eat three or more servings of nuts each week.
  • Enjoy legumes – lentils, beans, and the like – at least three times a week.
  • Avoid processed meats and limit the consumption of dairy items.
  • If you drink, enjoy at least seven glasses of wine each week with meals.
  • Eat squares of dark chocolate – it is actually good for you. Avoid milk chocolate, though.
  • Try food sauced with sofrito, which can contain tomatoes, leeks, onions, garlic and olive oil.
  • Get regular exercise.

The Times says that many of the researchers in the study have switched to the Mediterranean Diet for their own personal use.

If you would like to learn more about how diet can help your health, click here.

Lisa Swan writes on health and lifestyle topics for sites like LivingwellCareNavigation.

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