In a sea of diet and exercise information (and misinformation), it's easy to be overwhelmed. It seems a new diet emerges every week, each one crazier than the next. Over the next few months, we will be posting a series of blogs about some of today's most popular diets—the diets that have risen to the top and proven themselves to have some real staying power. Our first blog is about the tried and true Mediterranean diet.
What It Is
The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet that incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (like Italy and Greece). This diet is high in plants, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, breads, legumes, potatoes, nuts and seeds. They also use generous amounts of both extra virgin olive oil and red wine, along with moderate amounts of fish, poultry, dairy and eggs.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Getting plenty of exercise
Research has proven countless times that those who put an emphasis on local produce, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats not only weigh less, but also have a decreased risk for heart disease, depression, and dementia.
The Mediterranean diet, which is characterized by high fiber intake, moderate alcohol and meat intake, antioxidants, and polyphenols, does have favorable effects on heart disease, cancer risk, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and "is potentially associated with defense against neurodegenerative disease and preservation of cognitive function, reduced inflammation, and defense against asthma."
Although the Mediterranean diet has been consumed for a long time around the Mediterranean, it only recently gained mainstream popularity as a good way to improve health and prevent disease. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted on this diet, including several randomized controlled trials (which are the gold standard in science). This article takes an objective look at 5 long-term controlled trials on the Mediterranean Diet. All of them are published in respected, peer-reviewed journals.
Check back in two weeks for the next blog in our diet series. We will discuss the ketogenic diet, and the surprising ways it complements EnduraQ!