Diets in Focus: The Mediterranean Diet
Chefs and doctors alike praise the Mediterranean diet- and rightly so. The food of Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and North Africa represents some of the tastiest and healthiest delights in the world. The Mediterranean diet is actually high in fat, but it’s the good fats (lots of raw olive oil, nuts and seeds), which is why the people of this region suffer less heart disease. Fresh vegetables, wholegrains, low fat dairy, lean poultry, fish and seafood form the basis of the Mediterranean diet, making it balanced, nutrient rich, high in antioxidants, low in saturated fats and full of fiber – a great recipe for a healthy body.
According to a recent review study, "consuming a Mediterranean diet rich in minimally processed plant foods has been associated with a reduced risk of developing multiple chronic diseases and increased life expectancy. Data from several randomized clinic trials have demonstrated a beneficial effect in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and breast cancer. The exact mechanism by which an increased adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet exerts its favorable effects is not known. However, accumulating evidence indicates that the five most important adaptations induced by the Mediterranean dietary pattern are: (a) lipid-lowering effect, (b) protection against oxidative stress, inflammation and platelet aggregation, (c) modification of hormones and growth factors involved in the pathogenesis of cancer, (d) inhibition of nutrient sensing pathways by specific amino acid restriction, and (e) gut microbiota-mediated production of metabolites influencing metabolic health"
So what does this diet look like? Ive created a sample meal plan!
Breakfast: Wholegrain oats topped with fresh strawberries and chia seeds
Mid-morning snack: Meze platter of olives, hummous (chickpea and sesame seed dip), tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip)
Lunch: 1 piece of grilled fish with steamed broccoli and green beans with raw olive oil and lemon juice
Mid-afternoon: An apple and some almonds
Dinner: Chickpea and mixed vegetable stew with coriander and cauliflower rice