The Mediterranean Diet: A Closer Look

If you’re looking for a healthy diet, one of the most commonly recommended by health professionals is the Mediterranean diet. Most physicians and healthcare professionals believe that wellness is greatly improved by a balanced diet. If you generally rely on plant-based sustenance or are a strict vegetarian, you realize that there needs to be a balance to get the proper proteins and nutrients to your body with the absence of meat.

This is not to say that a vegetarian diet can’t be healthy. On the contrary, there can be excellent benefits for this type of food, but the necessary nutrients must be included in your diet, which often means finding ways to replace the protein found in more standard diets.

Colorful plate of food on table. Grains, blueberries, cucumber, salmon, bread

About the Mediterranean Diet

This diet began hitting the health news as far back as the 1960s. The basic premise behind the diet is that people who live in Mediterranean regions experience much better heart health. There are some articles that suggest the diet itself is overly recommended. The diet consolidates a range of diets that are included in the region. Greek cuisine, for example, is not identical to Italian or Sicilian dishes.

Another thing to note is that people in this region have similar lifestyle patterns that are decidedly at odds with their North American counterparts. For instance, in the Mediterranean region, the largest meal of the day is at our traditional lunchtime. Their last meal of the day is often much smaller. They also take a break in the middle of the day. There may be other attributes at play, such as a higher rate of daily activity in the Mediterranean.

Many well-respected health organizations do recommend the diet, such as the Mayo Clinic. There have been many studies that show this diet can help with weight loss, improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and prevent major health conditions, such as stroke and heart attack. When conducting a study of the foods themselves, the diet consists of eating healthy fats and limiting red meat and dairy.

How to Start the Mediterranean Diet

This diet is recommended so heavily because it can easily be integrated into your lifestyle. Simple substitutions, such as cooking with olive oil rather than butter, allow more people to comfortably move from their regular eating habits to a healthier diet.

This diet will mean adding more fruits and vegetables to their daily meals and limiting or eliminating processed breads and pastas in favor of whole-grain options.

The very basics things to know are:

  • Eliminate processed foods whenever possible. It would be best if you also eliminated (or severely limit) sugars and refined grains.
  • Limit red meat and dairy. It is okay to eat these items, but limit them to an occasional meal, not daily.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to your diet. You can and should eat these options every day and increase the amount of fish in your diet. You can also eat legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Chicken and eggs can be eaten, though less frequently than fish. Cheese and yogurt should also be eaten in moderation.

colorful bowl of veggies including broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, and peppers. Mixed greens and halved avocado decorate table outside the bowl.

Southern Arizona Urgent Care Can Help with Your Dietary Questions

At SAUC, we believe that the first step to helping patients maintain great health is giving them access to the information they need on lifestyle and diet. If you are considering the Mediterranean diet for your 2020 health goals, feel free to contact us today.