Changing from a Western to a Mediterranean diet can greatly reduce the chance of developing heart disease, cancer and other diseases. This summary leaflet includes a checklist of ingredients to eat, on a day-to-day basis, if wishing to make the change.
A quick summary:
|Mediterranean Diet - Overall|
|Examples||The Mediterranean Diet is based on a traditional mix of foodstuffs eaten by peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean - particularly Crete and southern Italy.|
|Also||The diet has been tested in Western industrialised countries such as the UK and USA.|
|Analysis||High in fruit, vegetables, legumes and cereals. Fish and white meat mainly eaten in place of red meat. Mono-unsaturated oils used in place of saturated animal fats. Moderate red wine intake with meals.|
|Benefits||Exceptional reductions in risk of early death, heart disease, cancer and chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Also, reductions in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease risk. Adoption of the diet has proved a successful strategy for healthy weight reduction.|
|Risk in Excess||The Mediterranean Diet maximises the intake of health-promoting ingredients, whilst minimising quantities of ingredients associated with health risks. Those adopting the Mediterranean Diet are likely to have a lower risk of disease than those who don't.|
For further details of research, diet ingredients and health benefits, see separate leaflets called 'How to follow the Mediterranean Diet' and 'Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet'.
Changes to make when converting from a Western to a Mediterranean diet:
The conversion can be made gradually, but it's a good idea to set yourself targets.
Scientific research has shown the closer individuals can follow an 'ideal' Mediterranean diet, the greater the health advantage.
If you'd like to try the full Mediterranean Diet at home, we've created the following handy tick-chart of foods to be consumed on a weekly basis, when following a scientifically tested 'ideal' Mediterranean diet (as used by the author).
The following is a guide to the portions referred to in the tick-chart:
It is the author's experience, that using the tick-chart for several weeks helps educate the eyes and palate in what to buy and cook, as well as what to avoid on restaurant menus and TV cookery programmes. So, over time, the healthy Mediterranean Diet can become a natural part of your way of life and, indeed, part of you. It's probably the closest science can currently get to a 'user guide' for fuelling the human machine.