The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world and is comprised of diverse and delicious ingredients. What’s not to like? Below, we explore the diet, what it’s made up of and how it can benefit you.
The Mediterranean diet: some context
As the name suggests, the Mediterranean diet is enjoyed by the people of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, France, Italy and Spain.
The consistent sunshine in these countries allows for growing incredibly tasty fresh vegetables and fruit and the sea is rich with amazing seafood, making it a great choice of diet for those who are looking to up their protein intake.
Meat plays a small part in the Mediterranean diet and should be enjoyed around a couple of times a week; in today’s climate emergency, eating meat only twice a week will make a huge difference to the environment.
In fact, experts say that if the average person cut a quarter pound of beef a week from their diet, it would be the equivalent to taking 10 million cars of the road for a year!
The Mediterranean diet has a global reputation for being healthy and has been proven to reduce heart disease and strokes – this is down to the fact that it limits your intake of red meat and processed foods.
It’s true that the diet is closely associated with using olive oil and drinking wine, but this should be in moderation – like anything else.
Foods such as pasta, dairy and bread should be enjoyed in small portions and it’s portion control which is one of the huge problems that has led to obesity in the UK and the US.
If you’re unsure about portion size, take a look at this from The Independent to help you measure out each food group that makes up a balanced meal.
The culture behind the Mediterranean diet
In the fast-paced world we live in, taking time to sit down and enjoy our food, in the company of others, can seem a mammoth task.
This is something Mediterranean countries do very well and is likely to be one of the reasons their health is good.
Sitting down to eat slowly and enjoy our food makes us less likely to overeat and allows us to make connections with the people we eat with, leading to better mental health.
Unfortunately, fast food culture has caused this to gradually disappear, even in Mediterranean countries to a degree.