The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of eating that reflects food and recipes of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It incorporates the basics of healthy eating, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, olive oil and perhaps a glass of wine. These are our protective foods — rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and high-quality proteins.
The pattern of eating is primarily, but not exclusively, a plant-based diet. So what does that mean? It means we want you to eat more protective foods on a daily basis: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats. You can still eat meat, just in smaller amounts.
Fish and seafood are very important components of the Mediterranean diet. They even have their own section on the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Alcohol, when consumed with a meal, and water are also part of the Mediterranean diet. Water is essential for proper hydration and all of your bodily functions. Don’t forget to drink your water!
Well, research has shown that patients who follow the Mediterranean diet pattern have a thirty percent reduction in death from all diseases, including heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. No other food pattern or diet is backed by a consistent accrual of evidence. This is sound science. Two classic studies linking the Mediterranean diet and health are by Ancel Keys and Antonia Trichipoulou. This information from the Seven Countries Study has lots of research on the correlation between diet and disease.
I want you to think about this for a second: making smart decisions about what you choose to eat, and how much of it you eat, can reduce disease in your body. That is amazing, right? That is what I like to call “The Power of Food!”
US News and World Report rated the Mediterranean diet the Best Overall Diet for the last 3 years (2018, 2019, and 2020), Easiest Diet to Follow, Best Diet for Healthy Eating, Best Diet for Diabetes, Best Plant-Based Diet, etc.
Following the Mediterranean diet pattern just makes you feel great! Just remember, in order to reap the benefits of the diet, you have to incorporate all the components. You can’t cherry-pick what you like. You can’t just drink your wine.