The Healthy Mediterranean Diet

Hubby and I have pretty much always followed the Mediterranean diet since moving to Italy. Because it’s so healthy, but also delicious! And you might want to give it a try too. Especially right now, because with this COVID-19 pandemic going on, most of us aren’t getting enough movement! Have you ever thought of doing trying it?

The Mediterranean diet

It’s known as one of the healthiest diets in the world. And with its base of healthy olive oil, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, it’s no wonder! Over here we usually see a high proportion of fresh fruits and vegies in shopping baskets! Yet over time, white-flour bread and pasta took over the diet here, with its decisive health dangers. But as of late healthy whole grains are making a strong comeback. Especially in our home!

A UNESCO heritage

But did you know that the Mediterranean diet is so important that it’s listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage? This list aims at ensuring better protection of important, but intangible, cultural heritages and promoting awareness of their significance. Those intangible elements that diversify one culture from another: their unique lifestyles, and creative and general traditions.

So while it may seem odd to find a diet on this list, I think it’s quite apropos. Because a passion for good food and proper preparation of it is an intrinsic part of the Mediterranean cultures, comprising Greece, southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Cyprus, and Croatia.

Our outdoor market

What it consists of

  • Daily exercise and weight control
  • Plenty of fresh water
  • Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables — especially non-starch and dark leafy
  • Olive oil as the main fat
  • Nuts and seeds — often placed on the table along with the fruit
  • Legumes and beans
  • Herbs and spices — especially basil, oregano, parsley, and rosemary
  • Whole grains
  • Fish and seafood —at least twice weekly
  • Poultry, eggs, cheese, dairy, and yogurt — in moderation
  • Red meat — once per week or on special occasions
  • Some coffee or tea
  • Red wine — one glass per day

Just as we see in the following food pyramid. Except that updated versions make fruits and vegetables the largest food category, with whole grains just above it. And the oils of course should never be consumed in high quantities.

Why it’s so healthy

  • It’s filling, but not fattening!
  • It’s delicious and varied — which makes it easy to follow and stick to!
  • It’s high in fiber.
  • It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • It’s low in processed foods and sugar.
  • It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory foods so it helps fight disease.

It’s health benefits

  • It might reduce the risks of heart disease.
  • It may help lower cholesterol levels.
  • It might possibly increase longevity.
  • It may help fight and treat diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.
  • It can help in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight.
  • It protects cognitive health and can improve mood.
  • The leisurely pace involved in this overall lifestyle can also help combat stress and aid relaxation!

Give The Mediterranean Diet a try! More than a diet or a diet plan, it’s a food lifestyle. One that is simple, healthy, and tasty!

And with The Mediterranean Diet, getting healthy has never before been so enjoyable!!

Don’t dig your grave with your own fork and knife – English proverb.

Images: Cheese and tomatoes by Semito. | Vegetables by Jill Wellington. | Market stand is my own. | Food pyramid from Wikimedia Commons.

Published by Signora Sheila

I am a wife, mom, nonna, blogger, and missionary in Italy. But really, I'm just an ordinary woman on a journey, trying to slow down enough to hear the still small voice of God and live for all that is truly important in this world.

8 thoughts on “The Healthy Mediterranean Diet

  1. I too follow the Mediterranean Diet, since my cholesterol started creeping upwards about five years ago. Now, fried foods, rich sauces and desserts no longer hold the appeal they once did. And it didn’t take as long as I thought for my taste buds to change. Thank you for the helpful food pyramid, Sheila–so different from the one everyone was taught several decades ago! P.S. When I eat my veggies and hummus, I’ll think of you! 🙂

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    1. That’s so true, Nancy. Our taste buds have changed too. I now crave fruits and vegies. The rare times I eat sweets and rich foods, I feel kind of sick. I’ve got to get back into adding hummus on a regular basis. And I also want to start doing strouts again. They are so yummy in salads! So here’s cheers to healthy eating!!

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