In the Western world, people often go on diets with the intention to lose excess weight. Fad diets may help dieters drop pounds initially, but weight is usually gained back later in life or when individuals’ meal plans fall astray from the regimented diet guidelines.
The Mediterranean diet is recognized worldwide as an ideal diet that promotes lifelong health and well-being. Unlike popular Western diets, the Mediterranean diet focuses on which foods can be eaten and how they can be combined and cooked to produce maximum flavor, rather than being solely concerned about which food to avoid and deprive the body of.
According to Oldways, an international non-profit organization that promotes healthy eating, the Mediterranean diet is a “lifestyle” that combines various aspects of life including exercise, food and socializing with family and friends.
Mediterranean Diet Food Groups
The majority of meals from the Mediterranean are composed of foods from plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes, seeds and breads. Oldways says plant food should be incorporated in all meals and come most often from locally grown sources. Compared to processed and packaged food, fresh and locally harvested plant-based food are full of nourishing vitamins and nutrients. When eating starches such as bread and rice, whole grain ones are the healthiest. According to WebMD, unprocessed and natural whole grains contain fibers and nutrients which fight cancers and heart disease. The fiber in fruits, vegetables and whole grains also satisfies the body when it is hungry, making it fuller and more energized for an extended time.
Olive Oil and Healthy Fats
“The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn’t on limiting total fat consumption, but rather to make wise choices about the types of fat you eat,” mayoclinic.com said.