By Nadia Nasah, Bridgewater State University
Did you know that May is Mediterranean Diet Month?
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
According to the American Heart Association, it is a generic term that is based on the typical eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The most typical foods include fish, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, cereals, potatoes, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. In addition, wine is consumed in low amounts. The Mediterranean diets have many similarities with the American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines. The difference is that the majority of the calories in the Mediterranean diets comes from fats.
What is in the diet?
There are at least 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, therefore there isn’t just one Mediterranean Diet. However, they do share similar dietary patterns which include:
- Increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds,
- Use of olive oil
- Dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
- Eggs are consumed up to four times a week
- Wine is consumed in low to sometimes moderate amounts.
What are the benefits?
- Those who follow the average Mediterranean Diet typically eat less saturated fats than those who eat the average American diet.
- More than 50% of the fat in the Mediterranean diets comes from monosaturated fats, which unlike saturated fats, doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels.
- Those living in the Mediterranean countries have a lower incidence of heart disease than in the United States.
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*Please Note: Always check in with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet.
Mediterranean Diet. (2018, April 18). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/mediterranean-diet