The Mediterranean diet is argued to be one of the most nutritious heart healthy ways to eat, as it is loaded with plant-based foods and healthy fats. The diet simply gets its name from the Mediterranean region and its inhabitants who are generally very healthy and live long, disease-free lives.
The diet consists of tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, high-quality poultry and eggs, fish, and olive oil. Red meat consumption is infrequent, only occurring for special occasions and in limited amounts. Additionally, it is said that followers of the Mediterranean diet indulge in moderate amounts of red wine and dark chocolate because of their antioxidant properties that lower bad cholesterol and reduce blood clots. However, we are not enforcing or encouraging the consumption of red wine if you choose to follow a Mediterranean diet, as other studies show that alcohol can increase the risk of cancer.
One of the main focal points of the diet that sets itself apart from others is the copious amount of olive oil, ideally extra-virgin and cold pressed. While oils oftentimes get a bad rap, nutrition experts argue that the incorporation of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet is a crucial component that leads to abundant health benefits. Olive oil contains powerful antioxidants called phenols that fight free radical damage and lower inflammation. To learn more, check out our article on olive oil.
Although the Mediterranean diet is most often associated with heart health benefits and low-obesity rates, there is scientific evidence that the diet might also be linked to the reduction of cancer. A recent study published by the International Journal of Cancer suggests that the Mediterranean Diet may lower the risk of a postmenopausal form of cancer called estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer. The study, which began in 1986, tracked 62,573 women, ages 55 to 69 in the Netherlands. Over that time, researchers were able to prove that post-menopausal estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer was 40% less common in women who closely followed a Mediterranean diet.
If looking to incorporate more Mediterranean-type foods into your diet, we have some recipes that are both delicious and wholesome options. We recommend trying our grilled tuna with Mediterranean herbs that consists of simple and fresh ingredients. Pair it along with our roasted tomato and olive pearl couscous for a complete meal. Or if you’re trying to reduce your meat intake, our Mediterranean quinoa patties are an excellent source of protein and will keep you feeling satisfied. Get cooking!