Post by Guest Blogger Alex Sherman
The Mediterranean diet has gained popularly because of a number of associated health benefits. But what exactly are the benefits and how can you easily follow this way of eating?
The Mediterranean diet is the food patterns of countries such as Greece, Italy, Turkey and Croatia.
Scientific explanation of benefits: Nutrition and health data show these areas to have the highest life expectancy, lowest risk of heart disease, diet-related chronic diseases (such as diabetes) and a lower chance of certain cancers (Willett et al., 1995).
Translated: you could a live LONGER, HEALTHIER life if you follow a Mediterranean style diet
The main points of a Mediterranean diet?
- Include wide range of seasonal fruits and vegetables on a daily basis
- Limit inclusion of highly processed foods - packaged foods with a long list of ingredients, most of which are unrecognisable!
- Include fish and chicken 2-3 times per week
- Limit red meat to 2-3 times per month
- Include unsweetened yoghurt and various cheeses 1-2 times per day
- If you drink alcohol, one glass of wine per day with a meal, is recommended. But don’t take drinking for the sake of it!
- Enjoy meals with friends and family – in other words, be social!
- Be physically active every day, with no specific guidelines specified
How can you include more “Mediterranean” dietary habits into your day?
- Work your way around the outside of the supermarket. The perimeter generally contains the fruit, vegetables, chicken, fish and wholefood products.
- Establish a regular meal planning day. When you have a plan for your weekly meals it’s easier to eat fresh and avoid waste
- Use spices and herbs to flavour your food instead of salt or highly processed sauces
- Replace butter in cooking with olive oil
- Get creative with vegetables. Learn how to include more into your daily meals (blog coming soon)
Is the Mediterranean diet for you?
Variations to the Mediterranean diet work better for different individuals. After bariatric surgery, it is important to get a higher level of protein and essential vitamins and minerals into your body. Along with your supplements, a wide range of vegetables is a great way to get your daily dose of micronutrients.
Consumption of fish, such as tuna, can increase your protein intake, along with getting important omega-3 fatty acids.
A lower carbohydrate intake is also favourable to promote weight-loss post-op. Focusing on a lot of vegetables is a great way to sustain energy levels and increase the variety of foods in your diet.
Experiment with your consumption of vegetables and meat – and enjoying what you’re eating! – is important in figuring out what diet works best for YOUR body.
de Lorgeril M. et al., (1999). Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications After Myocardial Infarction. Circulation 99:779-785
Willett, W. C., Sacks, F., Trichopoulou, A., Drescher, G., & al, e. (1995). Mediterranean diet pyramid: A cultural model for healthy eating. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(6)