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  • Why the Mediterranean Diet Remains HOT!

Why the Mediterranean Diet Remains HOT!

by Susan Burke March - January 14, 2014 - with 0 Comments

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Why the Mediterranean Diet Remains HOT!

If you’re looking for a diet that is easy to follow, nutritious, safe, proven effective for weight loss, and super protective against heart disease and diabetes – well, look no further than the Mediterranean Diet.

We’ve been promoting a Mediterranean Diet for years. But we don’t expect you to take our word for the power of this meal plan.

Each year the U.S. News & World Report asks experts to rank diets – best and worst. The goal: to help consumers make informed decisions. Sorry all you proponents of the Paleo Diet. That plan ranked dead last, mainly because of its restrictiveness.

The Mediterranean Diet, meanwhile, finished in third place for the third straight year in the “best diets” category. We believe that for those who would rather eat well than follow a diet, the Mediterranean meal plan may be the best diet of all!

There’s no deprivation with this plan that mirrors the eating habits of those who live in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. These are the people known for living longer, healthier lives.

The traditional Mediterranean Diet includes the foods and people of southern France and Italy, Spain, Turkey and Crete – countries that share a temperate climate and a long growing season for fruits and vegetables.

While the ingredients found in these different cultures are similar, each region’s cuisine is characterized by the way they combine different flavors, spices and herbs. Each country’s cuisine is distinct, and so eating the Mediterranean way is never boring.

A Mediterranean type of diet means enjoying fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The menu typically includes legumes and dried beans; seeds, nuts and all types of fish most days of the week. Instead of “fake” foods, you may find goat milk cheese (feta) and occasionally some lamb, poultry, even goat – but never greasy, frozen fries or fast food.

Wine often completes and complements the diet. In fact, health experts point to research that shows that moderate wine consumption, an integral part of the traditional Mediterranean diet, is correlated with heart health.

Food as Medicine

The secret of the Mediterranean diet may lie in the nutritive value of whole (and wholesome) foods. The meals are loaded with potent cell-protective and immune-enhancing antioxidants and micronutrients including vitamins E and C, carotenoids and phytochemicals. The foods are also naturally rich in protective minerals including calcium, magnesium and iron. Leafy green vegetables, olive oil and red wine help neutralize unstable oxygen molecules, which are commonly referred to as free radicals. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts and some fruits and vegetables appear to be protective as well. Plants are the best natural sources of insoluble and soluble fiber, and diets full of fiber are linked to lowered risk for heart disease and some types of cancer. 

Focus on Fresh: eDiets’ Mediterranean Diet focuses on foods you can prepare quickly. Take advantage of flash-frozen fruits and vegetables (they’re very nutritious), frozen fish filets and pre-cut produce (a great timesaver). Prepare a pot of lentils or quinoa (the super-nutritious Peruvian grain) in advance. Now you have ingredients for quick-fix salads and stews.

On The Menu

  • Protein: Fish are good sources of protein and heart-healthy nutrients. Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eat a variety of fish a few times a week including shrimp and shellfish. Sauté, grill, poach or bake to limit calories and enhance nutrition; avoid deep-fried foods. Skinless poultry, nuts, seeds and whole grains are good protein sources, too. Optional: lean beef, veal or lamb infrequently (2-3 times per month). Grilled is best. 
  • Vegetables and Fruits: This list is infinite. Vary your choices for optimal nutrition. This list includes sweet and white potatoes (scrubbed with skin) and other starchy vegetables. Deep reds, greens, yellows and orange means beta-carotene and antioxidants.
  • Legumes and dried beans: Lentils, quinoa, groats, wheat berries and salads made with green onions, tomatoes and feta cheese: All contain adequate protein, generous amounts of fiber, little saturated fat and no cholesterol.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, canola oil, olives, seeds and nuts contain heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; use olive and canola oil in place of butter and other vegetable oils.
  • Dairy: Watching calories? Choose low-fat and nonfat yogurt and cheese. Soy dairy substitutes, fortified with calcium and vitamin D are great. Choose unsweetened nonfat or low fat soymilk, soy cheese and yogurt.
  • Alcohol: Phytonutrient compounds found in the skin and seeds of grapes point us toward red wine for health benefits. Enjoy one or two glasses maximum, but not if you have a medical condition that prohibits alcohol, if you’re pregnant or nursing, or if you don’t currently drink.

To Sign Up for an eDiets Mediterranean Diet, Click Here!

Susan Burke March is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, who as chief nutritionist for eDiets promotes the dietary health and wellbeing of consumers worldwide.

eDiets Nutrihand Plans

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