Are you interested in shedding some unwanted holiday/pandemic weight? Interested in eating in a more heart-healthy, lower cholesterol way? Interested in eating a delicious, fresh-tasting, variety of foods?
Maybe the Mediterranean diet is for you!
Voted the best diet to follow for several years in a row in usnews.com, the Mediterranean diet is based on what the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have been eating daily for generations: quantities of vegetables and fruits, beans and lentils, and whole grains. Also, of course, more seafood than meat or poultry, and delicious and heart-healthy olive oil. All flavoured up with a variety of spices, fresh herbs, and lemon or lime, depending on the country.
The Mediterranean diet pyramid was developed in the 1990’s by the Harvard School of Public Health and was based on the Seven Countries Study done in the 1950’s by American physiologist Ancel Keys.
Keys found that people in Crete tended to have lower incidences of coronary heart disease than people in other participating countries in the study, which fact he attributed to their traditional diet, the Mediterranean diet.
The Harvard School of Public Health studied Key’s findings and the diet of the people in that area and came up with the pyramid illustrated here. The pyramid gives an easy visual representation of what to aim for if you are following the Mediterranean diet: lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains at the bottom of the pyramid; slightly less fish and seafood; less poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt; and meats and sweets shown as being less often consumed, at the top of the pyramid.
Being physically active and eating with others are also included in the pyramid (not shown) as being an important part and a basis of living a healthy life. You can find more information on the pyramid and Keys’ study here.
The Mediterranean diet has become more and more popular in North America as doctors and others discover its benefits and its deliciousness. It is easy to follow, even all year round here as we have access to canned and frozen goods as well as imported fruits and veggies from all over the world.
Some delicious examples of Mediterranean diet foods are: chicken cacciatore, minestrone soup, grilled chicken with veggies, and poached salmon with lemon and herbs.
You can find Mediterranean diet recipes and cookbooks all over the Internet and in bookstores. A great website with many easy recipes to get you started is https://www.themediterraneandish.com/best-mediterranean-diet-recipes/.
America’s Test Kitchen also has The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook with 500 tested recipes in all of the food groups the diet emphasizes. This book is great for slightly more time-consuming recipes with an authentic Mediterranean flair, although there are still some simpler recipes in it and certainly some that could be modified to be quicker and easier.
Why not research some Mediterranean recipes, go to your local market for fresh ingredients, and whip up a mouth-watering Mediterranean dinner today? Your health and heart will thank you!