5 Things to Know about the Mediterranean Diet

02/26/2013

Everyone knows that the best kind of diet is one that incorporates lifestyle changes. And the Mediterranean diet, which is currently receiving a lot of buzz for boosting heart health, is exactly that.

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson
Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson

In an effort to encourage good behavior, we’ve done our research on the Med diet so that you can sit back and appreciate the highlights.

So read on to learn five things everyone should know about this lifestyle:

1. Wine – is encouraged!

This is not a joke. The Mediterranean diet allows for one glass of red wine with dinner per night. This isn’t anything excessive and the one glass rule should be taken seriously (it's ONE glass, not ONE bottle) but that said, it’s still an awesome addition to a healthy diet!

2. The answer is white meat.

That’s right, this is a very poultry and fish-heavy diet.  Ideally you will completely replace any red meat consumption with lean, white meat.

The diet is low-cal and low in saturated fat, too – red meat tends to be heavier on the digestive system and is also a much fattier type of meat. Steer clear of red meat if you want to try living this lifestyle.

3. Yes, another low-carb option.

The Mediterranean diet is low-carb, however don’t think South Beach or Atkins. You can eat carbs, just in moderation. And when consuming them, think healthy alternatives to processed foods such as potatoes, whole grain pasta, rice and bread products. Also, when indulging in carbs, err on the side of caution – too much of a good thing definitely applies here.

4. This lifestyle calls for exercise.

This diet is more of a lifestyle than a diet as evidenced by a key ingredient: getting plenty of exercise.

The wide variety of foods you’re able to indulge in is no surprise when you consider what a balanced lifestyle this diet offers. By participating in daily exercise (or 4-5 times per week) at a moderate rate, your body will be much more at equilibrium and better able to process the foods you’re eating.

5. There’s no rush – and eat your veggies!

This last one is a bit of a two-fer. First, eat your meals slowly and take your time. Make a meal a social occasion -- there’s no rush! In other parts of the world, people are much better about not running out the door with food hanging out of their mouths or, even worse, indulging in fast food because they “don’t have the time.”

That said, (here’s the second part) you’ve also got to eat your veggies, like with any proper diet.

What you should already know

In addition to a veggie-rich, lean protein, low-carb diet, the Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fat alternatives, such as cooking with small amounts of extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or margarine, eating lots of protein-rich nuts and opting out of sweets when offered the opportunity.

This diet also uses a wide variety of spices in order to avoid consuming too much sodium which can be extremely harmful to the body.

Overall, this diet is centered around balance, moderation and a healthy lifestyle. If you’re curious, give the Mediterranean Diet a try! And don’t forget to let us know what you think!

By: Jen Wolfe

For More on Healthy Eating:

The Mediterranean Diet: What You Need to Know

Eat Healthy Daily

10 Ways to Eat Healthier


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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