Mediterranean Diet Overview
The Mediterranean Diet has been written about by many different authors and is available on several websites. The diet is more about a way of living and eating rather than an actual plan and despite the number of different versions, they all subscribe to one basic theory.
For a good amount of information, the Mayo clinic version of the diet is a great place to look. Laid out in very straightforward terms, it gives the facts about the diet without trying to sell an actual product. The site explains all the benefits of the diet in terms of health, of which there are many. Not only is the diet full of fresh, unprocessed foods, it has also been proven to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of coronary disease and certain cancers. The fact that the diet is quite high in fats, but still healthy, has been named the ‘French Paradox’ (as it is very similar to the French diet). The reason for this is that the fats consumed are ‘good’ fats – largely monosaturated or unsaturated, rather than the saturated type so rife in the North American diet.
As noted there are a number of other sites with Mediterranean diet tips and information, some which show the Mediterranean food pyramid and how it compares to the American Heart Association’s recommended diet.
Mediterranean Diet – Product Description
Books about the Mediterranean diet are available at major retailers such as Amazon Online where consumers can research which are recommended, by reading the buyers’ reviews and ratings. Some of the books contain mostly recipes whilst others go into further detail about the whole Mediterranean lifestyle and diet history.
There are some sites on the internet that promote their own version of the diet and require the consumer to purchase their diet book in order to obtain the ‘secrets’ but this is obviously not necessary, given the amount of free information available. E-Diets also provides a Mediterranean Diet and, for a sign up and delivery fee, the subscriber can have the meals delivered directly to their door. E-diets also provides additional support, information and online tools.
In terms of food, the Mediterranean diet is based on fruits, grains and vegetables, fresh fish, olive oil and red wine. Red meat and processed foods are not recommended nor are saturated and hydrogenated fats such as butter and margarine. Wine should be taken in moderation although some experts advise against wine if there is a problem with alcohol in the individual’s past.
Mediterranean Diet Advantage
- The Mediterranean diet is ‘heart smart’ and may reduce cancer rates
- It has been proven that Greeks are 20% less likely to experience heart disease and have 1/3 less cases of cancer than other countries
- The Mayo Clinic has a good amount of sensible information about the diet
- The diet focuses on eating fresh, plentiful amounts of food
- The food required by the diet is generally inexpensive
- No major food groups are excluded
- The diet is rich in anti-oxidants
Mediterranean Diet Drawbacks
- The Mediterranean diet focuses on food rather than fitness
- The diet is not designed necessarily for weight loss
- The diet is not low fat or low calorie
Mediterranean Diet – The Bottom Line
Choosing to follow the Mediterranean diet would be a smart move for most people living in North America. For those with a history of heart disease, it would be recommended that they consult with a physician before they make any major dietary changes.
In general, it would be advisable for anyone following this diet to include a good amount of regular exercise and educate themselves about proper portion size in order that they do not overeat the delicious food that this diet provides!