The Mediterranean Diet is named, well, because it reflects what the people in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea eat!
According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes the following:
- Plant-based foods (fruits and vegetables)
- Whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Olive oil and canola oil, instead of butter and margarine
- Herbs and spices instead of salt
- Eat more fish and poultry, less red meat and "sausage"
Interestingly enough, it isn't all about what you eat! It may also be about other lifestyle factors - namely, getting a lot of exercise and eating with others.
Some of the benefits associated with this type of eating plan include:
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Lower bad cholesterol
- Reduced risk of death
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Reduced risk of Parkinson's Disease
- Reduced Risk of Alzheimer's's Disease
- Possibly a reduced risk of Breast Cancer
- Weight Loss
- Reverse Diabetes (Type II)
The other thing that is pretty cool about the Mediterranean Diet is that it is fairly easy to follow. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Mediterranean Diet ranks number 4 out of 38!
Let's Make It Work!
PLANT BASED FOODS: Start and end your shopping in the produce aisle. Your grocery basket should be at least 2/3 full with fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables.
WHOLE GRAINS, LEGUMES AND NUTS: Switch your grains to whole grains (bread, pasta, etc). Eat cashews, almonds and walnuts, etc. for snacks. Try natural peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter (less trans fats).
USE OLIVE OIL AND CANOLA OIL, INSTEAD OF BUTTER AND MARGARINE: Quit cooking in vegetable oil and beef fat. Start cooking in olive oil. Recognize that anything with a shelf life (cookies, chips, crackers etc) is full of bad fats! Please understand - not all fat is bad. You need fat, you just don't need bad fat!
USE SPICES AND HERBS, INSTEAD OF SALT: Who doesn't know that salt is bad for you? Most of us think of salt in our diet as something we add when we eat, but the reality is that most of the salt we get in our diet is from processed foods. Anything that is canned and has a shelf life is likely to have a lot of salt in it (I am talking to you again, chips, crackers and cookies!). First line of defense is to eat fresh! It may take getting out of your comfort zone, but there are other flavorings besides salt and pepper!
FOCUS YOUR MEATS: More fish and chicken, less red meat and processed meat (sausage, lunch meats, hot dogs, etc).
Honestly, the Mediterranean diet is probably one of the easiest eating plans to follow. It is so popular, you can just type in Mediterranean diet in your web search and you will get more recipes than you know what to do with. They aren't that hard to follow, even I can follow them! Changing how you eat is always a bit of a chore, but review the health benefits above and get to work - you'll start seeing yourself healthier and feeling better!
To your health,
Dr. Doug Williams Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana