With all of the crazy diets out there it really should be no shock that you might not have heard of the Mediterranean diet before. This one is actually pretty easy to remember after it has been explained. Basically it is centered on the idea of only utilizing traditional food and drinks from the various countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea.
Don’t have a globe handy? For those who didn’t get an ‘A’ in geography that would be Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunsia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France. Technically a few other smaller countries might touch the water at some point but those are the main countries.
Not to make light of the idea, but for a ‘diet’ this plan sure does include a wide range of cultures that can lay claim to it. Now people who support this method like to state that it isn’t a diet but more a lifestyle of eating that includes a lot of wonderful foods and even wine in moderation. Supposedly scientists have lined up by the dozens to classify it as one of the healthiest in the world.
While I am not agreeing or disagreeing with these points I do feel very strongly that many dietary plans can be considered extremely healthy because almost always they involve the same fundamental foods being eaten in moderation. By the same token changing eating habits or lifestyle is important because it then makes the mental idea of a ‘diet’ as such a short term activity non-existent because the healthy way of eating becomes the normal way of eating.
Mediterranean Diet Basics
Specifically this diet focuses on a mix of foods from Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and the Middle East. Some of the main factors of this diet are that it has a higher salt intake, low saturated fat intake, high in monounsaturated fat and fiber, and likes to add in red wine. Also there is an expectation for regular activity or exercise. The idea of small portions and fresh food that has a lot of flavor is used to reduce cravings.
Meals are focused around using a lot of legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oil. Dairy products are used in a moderate amount with that mostly being yogurt and cheese. Wine is a regular staple in moderate amounts with dinner meals. While red meat and other meat products (such as chicken or pork) is allowed in general the amount included is low. Processed foods and sugary junk are not consumed.
The idea behind the diet is reduced amounts of fats that produce cardiovascular disease. The high amount of fiber from vegetables and legumes help keep the body healthy and things like olive oil have antioxidants that help with cholesterol issues. Obviously fish and fresh fruit are great in any diet plan. Overall this style of eating is highly endorsed because of the lowered level of heart disease found in people who regularly use this type of diet as well as general early death rates. While it does not speak to the ability to lose weight or gain muscle, for an average person following a diet that helps you live longer while enjoying a wide variety of food is very appealing.
The Bottom Line
This really is a very good diet plan to follow for general health. Of course, as is noted in most publications of the eating style, regular exercise is a big part of the healthy lifestyle. While there are better diet options for people looking to drop excess weight or pack on muscle, for those in between who love flavorful food the Mediterranean diet is something that should be fully investigated because it does have some very good benefits for a healthy lifestyle.
The dishes from these countries can be very flavorful which is nice compared to some other bland diet options. In addition, many people like the idea of being able to include wine in their diet plan; in moderation of course.