There are few diets that often promote a healthy lifestyle and focus on food quality rather than quantity. The Mediterranean diet is one such diet that has been named the healthiest way to eat for the sixth year in a row by a panel of experts, according to US News & World Report.
It has dominated the rankings in recent years for balancing good nutrition, being easy to follow, and having a colorful palette. It is based on the traditional way of eating in the 21 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Croatia, Turkey, and Monaco.
At the crux of it, this diet primarily involves eating plant-based foods – lots of fruits and vegetables – and incorporating whole grains, beans, nuts, seafood, lean poultry, and unsaturated fat from extra virgin oil.
Studies have indicated that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of certain chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, which promotes a higher quality of life.
A study on the nutritional benefits of the Mediterranean diet was first published in the Seven Countries Study (SCS), which is the first major study to investigate diet and lifestyle along with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, across contrasting countries and cultures over an extended period of time.
So, what is the Mediterranean diet? Essentially, you have to fill your plate with a wide range of foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, herbs, and spices daily. The diet involves having seafood and fish at least twice a week with poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation. Red meat and sweets are observed as occasional treats. Besides this, an occasional glass of wine is acceptable.
In all, the Mediterranean diet may not be very different from the Indian diet as it focuses on incorporating healthy fats and whole grains.