The Mediterranean Diet

There are certain types of food in The Mediterranean Diet of varying proportions that has been shown to reduce the risks of developing heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet is a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, peas and beans and grains. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish.  There is little red meat and most fat is unsaturated and comes from olive oil and nuts.

In combination with moderate exercise and not smoking, the Mediterranean Diet offers a scientifically researched, affordable, balanced, and health-promoting lifestyle choice, lifestyle and risk. We all know that the modern Western diet and our sedentary lifestyles all appear to have contributed to a recipe for unhealthy living. Diet, lifestyle factors and obesity are also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.

The results of an investigation into cardiovascular death rates, was published in 1980. This study found death rates were low in Greece and Southern Italy and relatively high in the USA and Finland.

The lifestyle of the long-lived Mediterranean people were studied and after such factors as smoking, exercise, education and stress had all been taken into account, it was found that diet had played an essential part in keeping these communities healthy.

It was found that both individual food components (such as vegetables, fruits, mono-unsaturated fats) and their combination into a long-term dietary pattern were important for health. This led to the identification and description of an ideal Mediterranean diet that could be tested on Western populations.

Many long-term population studies, involving hundreds of thousands of people, have been carried out to assess the likely health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean diet.  The diet is now well known to afford significant health benefits.

The ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet has:

  • High quantities of a variety of vegetables, a variety of fruit, beans, cereals and cereal products;
  • Moderate quantities of fish, white meats, nuts, low fat dairy produce;
  • Low quantities of red meat, eggs, sweets and sweet desserts;
  • A high ration of mono-unsaturated fat (e.g. olive oil) to saturated animal fat (e.g. fatty red meat)
  • Low amounts of added salt.

28 Feb, 2014

6 thoughts on “The Mediterranean Diet

  1. This doesn’t surprise me and I think most people nowadays include some elements of the Mediterranean foods in their diets, not through design but as a healthy approach to food.

    High proportions of unsaturated fats and lots of fruits and vegetables is the basis of a healthy diet. I could happily follow it one hundred per cent if I lived in the Mediterranean.

    1. It doesn’t surprise me either. I agree with you when you say others will probably incorporate some of these foods in their diet. I believe that When we eat right we’re more likely to improve in other areas of our lives too because we’ll feel better physically and emotionally.

      I like this diet because it’s not a fad diet and therefore won’t interfere with our health in the longer term like other diets can. This diet not only incorporates foods which we know are good for us, but also adds to a more positive lifestyle choice.

  2. I have heard a lot of good things about this diet over the years and have considered going on it myself.

    My biggest problem is money for food. Being on a limited budget for groceries each week is a pain and groceries seem to increase in cost horribly. It’s like the powers that be, push us to go on these healthy diets but then the food industry increases prices of the things that are good for us and we can’t afford to eat healthy.

    I try to do my best on the food I prepare here, like not a lot of red meat maybe once a week and prepare chicken most of the time. I do have vegetables, either fresh from my aunt’s garden in the summer, or I buy them frozen I don’t buy canned vegetables at all.

    Then you have the food banks for people that can’t afford a lot of groceries to feed their families. The food they hand out is mostly processed, canned or high in fat. I know it’s supposed to be healthy to feed the poor population and it’s the only food a lot of people get, but you would think they would try a little harder to make it healthier.

    I think this diet is a great idea and would like to start eating this way myself.

    1. Thanks Lisa! You’re absolutely right in everything you say. I know in the UK it has been proven that we can still eat healthy meals on a budget, by buying grocery store own foods and choosing smaller outlets where foods don’t have to cost the earth and reduce the amount we buy.

      If we stick to our budget so that we don’t overspend or buy foods that we’ll never use, that should also help. We tend to throw out food that’s past its sell-by date because we never get round to eating what we buy.

      I believe that if we only buy what we need, we’ll have less in terms of waste and more money to spend on food. It’s the initial outlay that’s costly.

  3. I’ve been trying to eat more fruit and vegetables and using herbs instead of salt and I have to say I’m quite enjoying it; especially knowing it’s doing me good.

    I’m hoping I can keep it up long term.

    1. I think you will. You’ve started extremely well.

      I always think that if we come across a winning formula and it’s doing us good, it’s worth the effort we put in to continue.

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