WHAT ' S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET ?
IT ’ S HIGHLY RECOMMENDED — WITH GOOD REASON
by Dawn Thorpe Jarvis , MS , RD , LD
Senior Director Nutrition Science & Educational Content , Garden of Life
According to the U . S . News team ’ s panel of leading nutritional experts , the Mediterranean diet has been voted as the “# 1 Best Overall Diet for 2021 ” for the 4th year running . A highly qualified panel of 24 experts evaluated and ranked 39 diets . The panel not only found the Mediterranean diet to be the Best Overall Diet based on the scientific data , but also voted it to be Best for Healthy Eating and Easiest to Follow , Best for Diabetes , Best Heart – Healthy and Best Plant-Based Diet .
The Mediterranean style of eating is based upon “ traditional ” cuisine and foods from the Mediterranean region , including Italy , France , Greece , and Spain where people have consumed locally grown , fresh , unprocessed foods for centuries and have enjoyed good health and longevity .
Today , family doctors , dietitians , nutritionists and health practitioners are widely recommending the “ Mediterranean diet ” ( MD ) to their patients because it is a very healthy and practical way to eat — especially for heart , and immune health . The book Blue Zones shares the dietary habits of people dwelling in these regions who live to be over 100 years old and who are still fairly active ! But first , let ’ s be clear , the MD is not actually a “ diet ” per se , but rather a healthy way of living . It offers a lot of dietary flexibility by providing a wide variety of foods , making it easy to follow , with tasty recipes originating from the Mediterranean region , while incorporating daily physical activity and socializing with family and friends .
As would be expected , there are cultural , ethnic , religious , economic , and agricultural production differences but ultimately the MD-style diet , is about eating local fresh , sustainable , unprocessed foods — mostly plant based . It includes a wide variety of colored vegetables and greens , seasonal fruits , legumes , tree nuts , small amounts of whole unprocessed grains and seeds , along with a moderate fat intake — mostly from good healthy fats , such as avocados , nuts and , of course , olive oil .
GARDEN OF LIFE ’ S NEW DR . FORMULATED MODERNIZED MEDITERRANEAN PYRAMID
One of the biggest misconceptions about the MD , is around understanding healthy fats . The MD is definitely not a low-fat diet , and in fact , the clinical data on the MD certainly helps to dispel the myth that people with , or at risk of heart disease , should follow a low-fat diet . In landmark studies , such as the PREDIMED prevention clinical trial which included thousands of people with diabetes — or other risk factors for heart disease — they found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra good fats and without any fat or calorie restrictions , reduced the rates of death from stroke by roughly 30 %.
8 Vol 41 • Extraordinary Health ™