When you think about Mediterranean food, your mind probably goes to pizza and pasta from Italy, or hummus and pita from Greece, but these dishes don’t exactly fit into any healthy dietary plans advertised as “Mediterranean.” The reality is that a true Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables, seafood, olive oil, hearty grains, and other foods that may help fight against heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. It’s a diet worth considering. Making the switch from pasta to fish and avocados may take some effort, but you could soon be on a path to a healthier and longer life.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece and southern Italy during the 1960s when the rates of chronic disease were among the lowest in the world and adult life expectancy was among the highest. Aside from eating a diet consisting mainly of fresh and homegrown foods, other vital elements to the Mediterranean diet are daily exercise, sharing meals with others, and fostering a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods.
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet can include protecting against type 2 diabetes, preventing heart disease and strokes, keeping you agile, reducing risk of Alzheimer’s, halving the risk of Parkinson’s disease and increased longevity.