The Mediterranean diet has been recognized widely since the 1950s, but in recent years, it became voted the number one diet. So, what is the Mediterranean diet? Is it as good for you as people say, or should you stick to your typical diet? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Mediterranean diet.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet got its name because it consists of foods that are native to the areas around the Mediterranean Sea. The diet began in Italy, Greece, and Spain, as the countries all border the sea and provide easy access to the foods of the diet. The Mediterranean diet incorporates a large amount of fruits, veggies, grains, potatoes, nuts, and seeds (1). Olive oil is the main source of fat, and dairy products, fish, and poultry should be consumed in moderation. Red meat should only be consumed on rare occasions and sugary beverages should be avoided completely (2).
There is discussion among some groups about what the Mediterranean diet actually consists of, which is due to the fact that the different countries in the region have different offerings. Overall, the diet is supposed to focus on healthy plant foods, and limit the number of animal products. The actual food by country may differ, but the idea holds true for the diet regardless.
Is the Mediterranean diet good for you?
Typically, professionals may advise you to be wary of diets and diet culture. Diets are typically hard to maintain, and then when you stop the diet, changes your body has seen may reverse. However, that’s not really the case for the Mediterranean diet. Since the diet focuses on foods that you should be eating, like vegetables and whole grains, it’s a diet that is easy to maintain. Plus, the diet encourages you to eat enough so that you don’t get hungry. The caveat is that you should be filling up on options, like veggies and grains, rather than meat and dairy. The diet emphasizes more what you should be eating, rather than limiting the amount. This makes the diet non-restrictive, which is what people usually struggle with while trying out other diets. When you are hungry, it can be hard to stick to your diet as you’ll be more likely to give in to cravings.
Should I try the Mediterranean diet?
In short, yes, you should incorporate aspects of the Mediterranean diet into your own diet. Since it focuses on plants and grains, these are easy switches to make in your everyday life. Rather than having strict rules like other diets, this diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can focus on some of the typical practices, yet still, allow yourself to all of the foods that you enjoy. Nothing in this diet is completely off-limits, so you can learn how to eat everything in moderation. The Mediterranean diet gained traction because of the link between the heart health of those in the Mediterranean region, so it is definitely worth a try for the positive benefits and lack of restriction.