Mediterranean Diet Basics

The basics of the Mediterranean diet can be broken into 9 important areas of change for your health:

1. Vegetables - This one's pretty easy. It’s hard to eat too many vegetables...
2. Legumes - Making beans your choice for a starch...
3. Fruits and nuts - Fruit is the perfect snack...
4. Cereals - Whole grains are really good for you...
5. Fish - More fish, less meat...
6. Olive oil - This really means eating more monounsaturated fat...
7. Dairy products - The traditional Mediterranean diet doesn’t have dairy products as a major focus...
8. Meats - Less meat and lean meats...
9. Alcohol - There is good evidence that moderate use of alcohol is good for you...

Need more information? Read about the research!

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The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is the name that has evolved to symbolize the healthy foods eaten by those people whose countries surround the Mediterranean Sea. Their diets are higher in vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), fruits, nuts and whole grain cereals. The main fat used is olive oil and there is less use of highly saturated fats like butter and lard.

OlivesInstead of beef and poultry as the main animal protein, they eat mostly fish with some dairy, although much of the dairy is in the form of cultured products like cheeses and yogurt. The lower intake of poultry and red meats is coupled with a moderate consumption of wine (mostly with meals).

These ingredients form the basis of Dr. Gourmet recipes. The diet for the most part adds up to fewer calories and better quality foods than the diet that has evolved in America and Western cultures. Interest in this way of eating began because of the longevity of those who have traditionally eaten this way.

The Mediterranean Diet as such was originally recognized by Ancel Keys, a physiologist who believed as early as the 1950s that heart disease was not a necessary part of the ag eing process. Dr. Keys laid the foundations for what we now refer to as the Mediterranean Diet. He lived to be 100 and was active in his field well into his 90s - testimony to the importance of eating well and eating healthy. Next Page »

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Research Articles - The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet and Genetics
We know that following the Mediterranean Diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your cholesterol scores, and help you live longer, but what we don't know is WHY that is. Research studies have suggested that the Mediterranean Diet helps to reduce the systemic inflammation which has been identified as a major risk of heart disease, but the results of those studies have been inconsistent at best.

If You Needed Any More Evidence: More on the Mediterranean Diet
Researchers in Italy recently pooled the results of 12 previously-performed studies of the effects of the Mediterranean Diet on people's overall health (BMJ 2008; 337:a1344). These studies included, in total, over 1.5 million people and each study lasted between three and 18 years.

The Mediterranean Diet and Death in America
I've reported in the past on studies that investigate the Mediterranean Diet's effects on cholesterol and heart disease. Recently the National Cancer Institute, in partnership with AARP, published the findings of a long term, large scale, prospective study (meaning the subjects were followed through time) on the Mediterranean Diet and its effects on all-cause mortality in the United States (Arch Intern Med 2007; 167(22) 2461-2468).

Mediterranean Diet, lifestyle factors, and the elderly
Researchers in the Department of Dietetics at Harokopio University, in Athens, Greece, evaluated the combined effects of a Mediterranean Diet, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and other factors on the cholesterol levels of persons 65 and over.

The Mediterranean Diet and heart attack survival
We know that the Mediterranean Diet can help prevent cardiovascular disease, but what if you have an acute coronary event anyway?

Just a little olive oil
Olive oil has a well-deserved reputation for helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Most of that reputation is from research into the Mediterranean Diet, so named because it is a collection of dietary habits followed by those in the region of the Mediterranean Sea.

More interesting Mediterranean Diet research
Eating a Mediterranean diet has clearly been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Numerous studies have been completed, but most have compared the diet to a typical Western diet....

A Mediterranean Diet Won't Make You Fat
You've probably heard that a "Mediterranean Diet" will help you live longer. . . . Recently, though, there's been some concern that although a Mediterranean diet might be good for your heart, it appears to lead to weight gain and obesity.