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What actually is the Mediterranean diet - and does it work?

The Mediterranean diet is more than food on a plate

The Mediterranean diet is more than food on a plate
  • It emphasises values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity.
  • Shared family meals help people eat well and avoid excess, while the TV dinner habit is linked to obesity.
  • It involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking and particularly the sharing and consumption of food.

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What actually is the Mediterranean diet - and does it work?

What actually is the Mediterranean diet - and does it work?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/02/mediterranean-diet-obesity-health-way-of-eating

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

The Mediterranean diet

It is not a weight-loss regime such as the Atkins or Dukan diets. It is actually not a prescriptive diet at all, rather a pattern of eating.

It is based on a rural life where people ate what they grew. It has no preservatives. It is freshly picked, plucked and cooked.

Principles of the Mediterranean diet

  • It is based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and especially olive oil.
  • Fish and seafood depends on how close to the sea you live.
  • Chicken, eggs and small amounts of dairy, such as cheese and yoghurt, are there in moderation.
  • The diet includes a small amount of wine with meals
  • It is quite a high-carbohydrate diet (pasta, bread and potatoes).
  • Red meat and sweets would rarely be consumed.
  • It is accompanied by quite a lot of physical activity. 

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The diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, p...

Benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet 

  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • is associated with a lower level of the "bad" cholesterol
  • is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. 
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
  • Eating of primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise.
Paleo concept

Humans evolved on a diet very different from today's eating habits. To be healthier, leaner, stronger and fitter, we must re-think our diet and remove some of the food groups we ...

What to eat
  • Animals (especially a "whole animal" approach, including organs, bone marrow, cartilage, and organs).
  • Animal products (such as eggs or honey).
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Raw nuts and seeds.
  • Added fats (like coconut oil, avocado, butter, ghee).
What to avoid
  • Grains, although research suggests eating whole grains improve our health and appear to be neutral when it comes to inflammation.
  • Heavily processed oils, such as canola and soybean oil.
  • Legumes, although research suggests the benefits of legumes outweigh their anti-nutrient content. Cooking eliminates most anti-nutrient effects. Some anti-nutrients may even be good.
  • Dairy.

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Pros of the Mediterranean Diet
Pros of the Mediterranean Diet
  • General Nutrition. It encourages a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
  • Heart Health. It is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and...
Cons of the Mediterranean Diet
  • Cost. Some consumers do worry about the cost of including fish regularly.
  • Additional Guidance May Be Necessary for Diabetes. Because there is an emphasis on grains, fruits, and vegetables (including starchy vegetables), meals may be high in carbohydrates.
  • Restrictions May Feel Challenging. This diet recommends reducing red meat and added sugar consumption.
  • Concerns About Alcohol Intake. Some experts raise concerns about regular alcohol intake (particularly wine).