Mediterranean Diet Review-My take on it
If you are on a look out for a diet plan that is heart healthy, the Mediterranean diet may end your search. The diet has all the basics of healthy eating along with the flavourful olive oil and a glass of red wine. The diet follows the traditional cooking style of the countries by the Mediterranean Sea.
Pros of the Mediterranean diet
Research has shown that following the traditional Mediterranean diet helps in the reduction of the risk of heart disease. An analysis was done and it has shown that following a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer along with a reduction of incidences of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
It is a diet that helps promote health and keeps diseases at bay. It can be followed by all in the family for the upkeep of good health.
The key components of the Mediterranean diet
The diet emphasizes on:
- Eating plant based foods like veggies and fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
- Replacing butter with a healthier fat like olive oil.
- Flavouring foods with herbs and spices instead of plain salt.
- Restricting consumption of red meat to a few times a month.
- Eating poultry and fish twice a week.
- Drinking moderate amounts of red wine (it is optional).
The diet also focuses on the importance of physical activity as well as the enjoyment of meals with near and dear ones.
Focus on fruits, nuts, veggies and grains
The Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fruits, veggies and grains. For instance, in Greece people have 6 or more servings a day of fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants.
The grains in the Mediterranean region are whole grain and have a very few unhealthy trans fats. Though bread is an important part of the diet, it is either eaten plain or dipped in olive oil. No butter or margarine is used.
Nuts too form an essential part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are having high amounts of fat but most of it is healthy. However, nuts being high in calories, it can’t be eaten in large amounts. Nuts are supposed to be eaten not more than a handful in a day. You need to say no to candied or salted nuts.
Choosing healthier fats
The Mediterranean diet doesn’t focus on limiting consumption of total fat but instead choosing healthier kinds of fat. The Mediterranean diet avoids saturated fats and hydrogenated fats (trans fats). They both are known to contribute to heart disease.
The primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. And extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat! It is chiefly monounsaturated fat. Olive oil is also known to contain the highest amounts of antioxidants. Canola oil and certain nuts are known to provide linolenic acid (omega 3 fatty acid) along with unsaturated fat. Omega 3 fatty acids decrease chances of sudden heart attacks, improves the health of blood vessels and moderate blood pressure. Fatty fish like mackerel, trout, salmon, tuna and sardines are rich sources of omega 3. In a Mediterranean diet, fish is eaten regularly.
The effect of alcohol on health has been long debated. Certain doctors don’t encourage alcohol consumption as it may affect health. However, in some studies it is being said that in moderation, alcohol can reduce the risk of heart disease. The Mediterranean diet includes more wine and usually the red one. It is limited to 148 ml for women of all age groups and men older than 65; 296 ml for younger men. Anything above this limit can increase health problems.
So, that was a sneak-peek into the Mediterranean diet!
Will you follow a Mediterranean diet?
You may also like reading-