The Mediterranean Diet is not a fad diet or quick weight loss scheme, but rather a healthy way of eating and living that will last a lifetime.
The Mediterranean diet has long been celebrated as the gold standard of healthy diets for its highly palatable nature and favorable impact on the prevention of chronic diseases, promotion of greater longevity, and quality of life.
A single definition of the Mediterranean diet is difficult because of the diversity of dietary habits of more than 18 countries with coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea. There are, however, general food patterns that unify the variable diets of the Mediterranean people and reflect the more traditional eating pattern of the southern Mediterranean region during the early 1960s.
Dr. Ancel Keys wrote of this diet in his first book on the topic, titled “How to Eat Well and Stay Well the Mediterranean Way,” as a diet that provides clues for why the health profile of the Mediterranean countries was more favorable than the rest of the world during that period. Although it is not clear yet which components of the diet provide the greatest health benefits, likely candidates have emerged in the scientific literature that, when consumed collectively, provide a dietary pattern that is highly protective. So, in a nutshell (yes, nuts are a component of the world’s healthiest diet!), I encourage you to incorporate the foods that comprise the diet, as well as becoming more physically active, so that you can begin to reap the massive health benefits that this lifestyle has to offer.
As to which of the numerous components of the Mediterranean Diet are most important, scientists concur that it is the whole package that confers the health benefits. The Mediterranean diet is fairly simple. The diet basically consists of eating an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. In addition, extra virgin olive oil is the main fat and fish is emphasized as a protein source, which is an excellent way to obtain heart-healthy omega-3’s.
Remember, one final suggestion, when you eat like you’re in Crete, imagine yourself sitting down to dinner over a leisurely meal – enjoying delicious fresh and artfully prepared food, slowly savoring the joy of your Mediterranean meal – a far cry from mindlessly gobbling down your food behind your steering wheel or in front of the TV.
Eating like a Mediterranean is as much lifestyle as it is a diet. I urge you to enjoy a long and healthy life by following the spectacularly delicious and easy-to-follow Mediterranean lifestyle – now scientifically proven to be the world’s healthiest (and tastiest) diet!