The Mediterranean Diet is a Great Option!

I am often asked my opinion as to what is the best kind of diet to follow. Frankly, I don’t like using the word diet, because to me it implies something unpleasant or having restrictions. I like to think of healthful eating as an “eating plan” or “eating style”. So even though the Mediterranean Diet has the word diet in its name, it really isn’t that at all. It’s a style of eating that has a lot going for it.

Here is my list of reasons why this style of eating has particular appeal in terms of health benefits:

  1. Generous amounts of fruits and vegetables: these foods provide an abundance vitamins and minerals not found in other categories of food.
  2. Rich in fiber: use of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  3. Lower in sugar: fresh fruit, naturally lower in sugar is the basis for most desserts in this eating plan.
  4. Contains more Omega 3 fatty acids: fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are incorporated on a regular basis, and provide cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  5. Increased satiety: food plans that include healthy fats (monounsaturated fat from olive oil and omega 3 fatty acids) are more satisfying and help prevent hunger.
  6. Reduced risk for pre-diabetes, diabetes or insulin resistance: compared to a low fat diet, this style of eating helped people lose weight more effectively.
  7. A versatile plan with works well for people with or without health issues: in particular, it can be used successfully by people with diabetes or heart disease
  8. Focuses on plant based foods that provide a wide variety of antioxidants: antioxidants are food compounds that help protect cells from inflammation and damage.
  9. Uses simple, whole foods rather than processed foods:foods that are less processed and closer to their original form provide the greatest amount of nutrients.
  10. Includes red wine: Red wine in moderation provides a source of resveratrol and flavinoids, which help increase good cholesterol and prevent blood clotting.

If eating and living healthier is one of your goals, you may want to consider this style of eating. It’s a plan that is quite easy to maintain, does not skimp on taste or leave you feeling deprived. So, call it whatever you like, the Mediterranean Diet is one that I would highly recommend!

© 2010, Gretchen Scalpi, RD, CDE. Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live.

Gretchen is an author, consultant, speaker and Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator. She is also a Certified LEAP Therapist (Lifestyle Eating and Performance), specializing in the clinical management of food sensitivities and related conditions. She opened her private nutrition practice in 2002 and has expanded to two office locations in New Windsor and Beacon, NY. Gretchen’s practice provides individual nutritional counseling in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal disorders, and general wellness. To work with Gretchen Scalpi please visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com

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