Preventative medicine physicians, like Dominique Fradin-Read, strive to help patients reduce their risk of illness later in life. One of the most effective ways to prevent chronic diseases is by eating a nutritious diet. Unfortunately, what counts as a nutritious diet can get confusing, thanks to the prevalence of fad diets popping up every few months.
One diet that has the approval of the World Health Organization, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, other credible entities is the Mediterranean diet.
What are the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?
According to Mayo Clinic, researchers started looking into the diets of people living near the Mediterranean Sea, like Italy and Greece, in the 1960s as those countries saw significantly fewer deaths from heart disease.
Research has shown strong links between eating the Mediterranean way and having a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death. Some studies have also shown a reduced risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and more in those who adopt a Mediterranean diet.
Plus, compared to other, less evidence-based diets, the Mediterranean diet is much less restrictive, easier to implement, and relatively straightforward.
What are the Basics of the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet relies on a few basic components, such as:
- High intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beneficial fats
- Regular consumption of beans, eggs, fish, and poultry
- Modest amounts of dairy
- Small helpings of red meat
While the Standard American Diet typically revolves around a large portion of red meat and potentially some vegetables served as a side dish, the Mediterranean diet features plant-based foods more prominently on the plate.
Beyond consuming a largely plant-based diet, the Mediterranean lifestyle also includes regular physical activity and spending plenty of time with loved ones. Those components may seem less important than the actual dietary considerations listed above, but they are arguably just as important for our health as eating a healthy diet.
How Can I Implement The Mediterranean Diet Into My Life?
Reading through the specifics of this lifestyle can seem overwhelming at first, but there are a few simple steps you can take right away to work toward a more Mediterranean way of life.
Start off by switching to whole-grain ingredients, like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and other whole grains like bulgar, eating more fish and less red meat, and using olive oil instead of butter or margarine. From there, add more servings of fruits and vegetables, and try using herbs and spices as flavoring agents.
The Mediterranean diet is more simple than it may seem on the surface, and once you get the hang of it, you won’t look back!