The Mediterranean Diet has been recognized as the most popular diet in 2019. Usually anything that is described as a diet is a turn-off to the majority of people.

While describing what this diet is all about, this article will refrain from using the dreaded four letter word, D-I-E-T, and rephrase it as a Mediterranean meal plan lifestyle.

This plan is one of the most praised eating ideas in a long time. It is not new, it has been around for decades, even centuries. Every year the plan proves to be more beneficial.

The Mediterranean meal plan lifestyle gets its name from the foods of the people who live around the Mediterranean Sea between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. They eat fresh, whole foods, such as, olive oil, nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits and fish. Red meats and processed foods are rare.

Many people have found that the Mediterranean meal plan lifestyle isn’t a restrictive fad diet. It doesn’t eliminate foods more than it encourages adding foods. Saturated fatty foods like meat, dairy and butter are limited while fruits, vegetables and fish are increased. Daily red wine is even included.

The Mediterranean meal plan lifestyle isn’t necessarily a weight loss diet. There is not an official way to follow it. It is popular because it’s a well-rounded method to eating healthier not restrictive.

This approach is most famous for its benefits to heart health. It reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” kind. Thus reducing mortality from cardiovascular issues. It is also known to shrink the incidences of certain cancers, like breast cancer. Research has also pinpointed fewer cases of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

New evidence suggests that eating like Mediterranean people may offer protective effects for those with and at risk of Type 2 diabetes. The number one cause of death of those with Type 2 diabetes is heart disease and anything that can decrease cardiovascular events is beneficial. Limiting simple sugars and saturated facts is at the heart of this protective effect.

Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of the Mediterranean meal plan lifestyle. Learning the amount of a serving and consuming nine daily is the key. A serving is not an entire head of cabbage or an apple the size of a softball. Eight ounces of juice is actually 2 servings and a tennis ball size apple counts as one.

Produce packs an assortment of disease-fighting antioxidants and people that eat at least nine servings daily have a lower risk of disease. Sugar and sweet treats and drinks are limited to special occasions. Sugar has a negative effect on health compared to fruits and vegetables.

Above all else, all meals are consumed in the company of family or friends. Strong social ties are important to a healthy life. Food is celebrated together, not in front of the television.


Bobbie Randall

Contributing columnist

Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

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