The Mediterranean Diet describes the eating pattern in olive producing regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea such as Greece, Italy and Spain. Studies of the Mediterranean Diet eating pattern show protection against chronic diseases and various types of cancers. In addition, it is said that people who follow this diet pattern live longer than those who do not.
The few common foods found in the Mediterranean lifestyle are:
- Olive oil – a monounsaturated fat helping to increase good cholesterol (HDL)
- Beans – a great source of protein and fiber
- Nuts – rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 – the good fats) have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
- Fish – rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help lower triglycerides
- Wine – red wine contains antioxidants from the grape skins and seeds which can help to prevent strokes.
- Yogurt – a great source of protein and calcium which protects and strengthens our bones.
It is important to remember that with any “diet”, routine physical activity is necessary for not only weight management but also to improve mood, help prevent chronic disease, strengthen your heart and lung, and can even promote better sleep. If you are not following a regular exercise routine, it is always best to consult your physician for an activity level that is best for you.