So you are interested in the Mediterranean diet! I don’t blame you, it’s been voted the ‘Best Overall Diet’ in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, & 2018 by US News and World Report! Many people enjoying this lifestyle swear by the health benefits. But what is the Mediterranean diet?
Let’s dive into some evidence based research and go over it all! Plus, I will give you the opportunity to get a printable Mediterranean diet food list to take with you to the grocery store!
*NOTE: I am not a doctor or dietitian, I am a food blogger! Please consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
So what even is the Mediterranean diet?
I know when I first heard of it, I pretty much dismissed it because of the term ‘diet‘. I knew that diet culture in general was bad, and I didn’t want to fall into the trap of restrictive eating habits.
If only I knew that the MedDiet was less of a diet and more of a lifestyle change!
In a nutshell, the MedDiet is just eating the diet that people eat in the Mediterranean!
It involves eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables every day, including healthy grains and legumes in your meals and trying to have a few meatless meals a week.
Fish is encouraged to be consumed twice a week, and red meats and sweets should only be enjoyed on occasion (notice how I didn’t say never!)
The lifestyle change encourages you to try to get 30 minutes of exercise a day. That can be a walk outdoors, a gym session or even just dancing in your living room! It also encourages meals to be shared with family and friends.
With all that being said, do you think anyone will ever go on the ‘American diet’? (hotdogs, hamburgers, Mcdonalds, eating in your car on the way to work LOL)
Evidence Based Research On The Mediterranean Diet
If you don’t already know, I have a background in Physical Therapy. I have always been intrigued by the science and evidence behind how the foods we consume effect our body and our mind.
So I hope this research on how Mediterranean diet works benefits you as much as it benefited me!
In one study with a median follow up of 4 years, people with high cardiovascular risk on a MedDiet supplemented with nuts or extra virgin olive oil demonstrated an inverse association with diabetes incidence by 52% in comparison to the control group.
Read the journal article HERE
Can Mediterranean diet reverse heart disease? In a study of nearly 26,000 women at high cardiovascular risk, the incidence of major cardiovascular events was lower among those assigned to a MedDiet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts than among those assigned to a reduced-fat diet.
The study examined a range of underlying health factors that might account for this reduction, and found that changes in inflammation, blood sugar, and body mass index were the biggest drivers.
Read the journal article HERE
In an observational study from Nurses’ Health, 10,670 women ages 57-61 were observed for the effect of dietary patterns on aging. Healthy aging was defined as living to 70 years or more, and maintenance of 4 health domains: no major chronic diseases or major impairments in cognitive or physical function or mental health.
The study found that the women with greater adherence to a MedDiet eating pattern had a 46% greater odds of healthy aging.
Increased intake of plant based whole foods, whole grains, and fish; moderate alcohol intake; and low intake of red meats were believed to contribute to this finding.
Read the findings HERE
Is Mediterranean Diet Healthy?
Most experts agree that eating a Mediterranean diet is nutritious and beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. Since it emphasizes whole, plant based foods, it is very high in vitamins and nutrients. The emphasis on unsaturated fats and lean protein have been shown to potentially decrease risk factors for disease.
There is a reason that it has been voted ‘Best Overall Diet‘ in 2022, 2021, 202, 2019 & 2018 by US News and World Report! See the report HERE
Your Printable Mediterranean Diet Food List
Other than ‘What’s Mediterranean diet?’, I also frequently get asked about what ingredients are okay to eat on a Mediterranean diet.
The answer isn’t really black and white, because the MedDiet t isn’t a restrictive diet.
There really aren’t a lot of ‘do’s and don’ts’.
In general, you want to eat a large variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and you want them to be in season. Whats in season where you live might not be the same as whats in season where I live!
To help you out, I created this free Mediterranean diet shopping list with the framework that you will need to make healthy ingredient purchases!
Mediterranean Diet Recipes
So now that you know ALL about the Mediterranean diet, now what?
I recommend starting by making one meatless meal a week. Try making healthier decisions when grocery shopping by using my printable grocery shopping list.
You can check out all of my Mediterranean Diet recipes in my Mediterranean Recipes Category! Here are a few: