The Mediterranean diet was first defined by Ancel Keys stating they it is low in saturated fat and high in vegetable oils, observed in Greece and Southern Italy during the 1960s.
A lot of scientific evidence have shown that the Mediterranean diet has a great beneficial effect on metabolic syndrome (such as obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus)
This diet plan is one of the best studied diets as for cardiovascular health is concern.
It is one of the healthy eating plans recommended by most of the dietitian for better health.
The foundation of this diet plan is plant based food not the meat.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet plan is formulated based on the eating habit of the individual of the countries neighboring to the Mediterranean Sea. This diet plan is characteristically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds and olive oil.
Mediterranean diet embodies the gold standard as preventive medicine, possibly to a combinations of many elements with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mediterranean diet plan
A typical Mediterranean diet plan consist of following components;
- Plant based food-Day-to-day eating of vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Healthy fats- Olive oil is the primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet
- Protein source-Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs. Occasionally intake of red meat
- Use of dairy products (cheese and yogurt) in moderation
- Beverages- Small quantity of wine can be taken along with meals
- Herbs and spices can be used at place of salt to add flavor to foods
- Minimal or no use of the processed foods
Mediterranean diet recipes
Following key point should keep in mind before adopting the Mediterranean diet recipes.
- Aim for three to five servings of vegetables on daily basis.
- Take season meals with herbs and spices
- Pick whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as whole-grain pasta and rice products.
- Snack should be based on the nuts and seeds instead of snack foods.
- Replace butter and margarine with health fats found in the olive or canola oil.
- Eat small servings of cheese or yogurt.
- Replace butter and margarine with healthful oils such as olive or canola oil.
Health benefit Mediterranean diet
A large body of studies shows that that traditional dietary habits and lifestyle of Mediterranean region have capability to lower the incidence of chronic diseases and improve longevity.
Mediterranean diet plan are associated with following health benefit;
- It is associated with lipid lowering effect
- It has capability to protect against oxidative stress, inflammation and minimized the aggregation of platelets.
- It also modifies several hormones and growth factors which are involved in the process of carcinogenesis.
- Specific amino acid restriction are associated with inhibition of nutrient sensing pathways
- They rich in the dietary fiber which support gut microbiota which ultimately help in the production of metabolites which have health benefit.
The Mediterranean diet has been well proven that they reduces the burden and prevent the development of, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity, asthma, erectile dysfunction and many more and increases the longevity.
Take home message
Switching from unhealthy modern diet plan with health friendly mediterranean diet represents a healthy lifestyle choice to prevent modern day’s disease such as CVD, cancer and diabetes.
Davis, C., Bryan, J., Hodgson, J., & Murphy, K. (2015). Definition of the Mediterranean Diet; a Literature Review. Nutrients, 7(11), 9139–9153. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663587/
Romagnolo, D. F., & Selmin, O. I. (2017). Mediterranean Diet and Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Nutrition today, 52(5), 208–222. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5625964/
Boucher J. L. (2017). Mediterranean Eating Pattern. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 30(2), 72–76. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439355/
Widmer RJ, Flammer AJ, Lerman LO, Lerman A. The Mediterranean diet, its components, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Med. 2015 Mar;128(3):229-38. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.10.014
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