Understanding Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet first began in 1945 by an American doctor named Ancel Keys who was staying in Salerno, Italy. The diet became well known by the 1990s. More than just a diet, the Mediterranean Diet involves a more holistic approach, it’s not just the eating but it also involves the lifestyle. It is definitely a diet that anyone can use for a lifetime because of the many health benefits it brings.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is a dietary plan that is based on eating customary foods and drinks of countries around the Mediterranean Sea. It has a more contemporary nutritional approach. By tradition, Western Europe actually has two broad nutritional approaches which are the Northern European and Southern European.
The Mediterranean diet is more on the Southern European approach and is centered on the diet of people of Creete, Greece and southern Italy but today Spain, Southern France and Portugal are included already despite the fact that Portugal does not surround the Mediterranean Sea. Basically a Mediterranean Diet is composed of the following:
- Lots of plant-based foods
- Fresh fruits
- High intake of nuts, beans, seeds and cereals
- Use of olive oil as a source of dietary fat
- Dairy foods which are mainly cheese and yogurt
- Consumption of only 4 eggs per week
- Moderate consumption of fish and poultry
- Low consumption of red meat per week
- Low to moderate intake of wine
- The 25-35% of calories are from fat and 8% of the calories are from saturated fat
The Mediterranean Diet is designed to ensure that all the essential elements of healthy eating are part of the diet starting with consuming fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats which we can get from using Olive oil. From here, we can see that the diet is aimed at limiting the intake of fats and making healthier choices when eating foods that contain fat rather than removing it from the diet. But the fats in the diet are the ‘good fats’ which are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
How does it work?
The Mediterranean Diet was not really designed for weight loss but it was rather made for the purpose of promoting a healthy lifestyle by eating the right kinds of foods. The diet is more of a combination of Mediterranean foods from different countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, North Africa and Greece giving dieters loads of healthy and tasty choices.
Basically the Mediterranean Diet is centered on the following concepts:
- Consumption of foods that are from plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and grains. Fruits and vegetables should be included on the diet on a daily basis.
- As much as possible, dieter should keep away from processed foods and fresh foods are preferred which happen to be rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Olive oil is the chief source of dietary fat.
- The main low fat dairy products of the diet are cheese and yogurt. There should be a limit of four eggs in a week.
- There should be a moderate intake of fish and poultry as well as other meats such as beef, lamb and pork.
- If a dieter is going to eat chicken it should be skinless. Turkey is much more preferred as it is leaner.
- There is restriction of intake of foods that are high in sugar or saturated fat.
- Low to moderate intake of wine (1-2 glasses per day for men and 1 glass per day for women) which should be drank during meals.
For those who are accustomed to eating meat and processed food, it may be hard to follow the diet at first but eventually, it becomes easy to follow plus the wide variety of food choices make meals interesting.
- Easy to follow
- Does not require measuring or weighing
- Not for weight loss but can help a person lose as much as 10 lbs. in 5 weeks
- Offers a wide variety of food choices thus it is not boring
- Can be lifelong diet plan
- Proven to be effective in lowering the risks of developing heart diseases, specific types of cancer and even diabetes
- It may be hard to follow the dietary plan because some people may not be accustomed to the food
- There is a need to cook fresh foods
- Not really meant for weight loss
Who can benefit from the Diet?
Anyone can follow the Mediterranean Diet as it offers a very healthy meal plan and helps in improving the quality of life by means of healthy eating. As long as you are willing to try Mediterranean cuisine, then following this diet won’t be a problem at all.
Celebrities who have used it
The Mediterranean Diet definitely did not miss out on attracting even celebrities in Hollywood such as celebrity chef Rachel Ray whose cooking is centered on using olive oil and includes fruits, vegetables, wine and whole grains to her recipes. Celebrity Brooke Burke, actress Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Garner, Isla Fisher and Heidi Klum also follow the Mediterranean diet. More than just a diet, these celebrities have looked up to it as healthy lifestyle.
How many people have used and benefited from the diet?
The Mediterranean diet is followed by people from different parts of the globe and not just in the Mediterranean region. It has been thought of as an ideal diet because it’s healthy and yet it still does not fail its dieters to choose from a wide variety of foods offered plus the fact that it has great health benefits, lots of people are getting drawn to it and is a growing number to this day.
The Mediterranean diet many not be a weight loss plan but it does help promote a healthy way of living and a better life. It is not like other diets that a specific program is laid out and pre packed foods are served. It is more of knowing what foods to eat and which ones to cut out from the diet.
Although some people prefer to use for weight loss, there are also those who closely count on their calories to really lose weight but the mere fact that it is low in fat and does not encourage eating too much of meat and focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, nut and whole grains, the diet can help in losing weight but at a much slower pace.