What is Mediterranean Diet?

There is actually no one specific Mediterranean diet. There are at least 16 countries which border the Mediterranean Sea, of which diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country.

Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets.

Nonetheless, the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:-

a.   An abundance of food from plant sources including fruits and vegetables, potatoes, breads and grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

b.   Emphasis on a variety of minimally processed and wherever possible, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods (which often maximizes the health-promoting micro-nutrient and anti-oxidant content of these foods).

c.   Olive oil as the principal fat, replacing other fats (including butter and margarine).

d.   Total fat ranging from less than 25% to over 35% of energy, with saturated fat no more than 7-8% of energy (calories).mediterranean dietary

e.   Daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt (low-fat and non fat versions may be preferred).

f.   Weekly consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish (fish is more preferred compared to poultry) and poultry, from zero to four eggs weekly (including those used in cooking and baking).

g.   Fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert; sweets with a significant amount of sugar (often as honey) and saturated fat consumed not more than a few times a week.

h.   Red meat  a few times per month (limited to a maximum of 340 – 450 gm per month and lean meat is preferred).

i.   Regular physical activity at a level which promotes a healthy weight, fitness and well being.

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