The Mediterranean Diet

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
The Mediterranean Diet

The term, “Mediterranean Diet,” implying that all Mediterranean people have the same diet, is a misnomer. The peoples of the Mediterranean region have a variety of diets, religions and cultures, and their diets differ somewhat in fat, olive oil, meat, wine, fruit, vegetable and dairy product contents. What most people think of when they hear the phrase, “Mediterranean Diet,” actually is the traditional diet of Greece prior to 1960.3 Nonetheless, the concept of a “Mediterranean Diet” has become a permanent part of the public consciousness.

Dietary lifestyle patterns that now are considered to be reflective of the Mediterranean Diet include the consumption of abundant amounts of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grain breads, beans, nuts and seeds.1,3 The fruits and vegetables usually are fresh, minimally processed, and grown relatively locally (with little commercial shipping). Concentrated simple sugars and processed flour products are avoided. In contrast to westernized practices, the major source of dietary fats is olive oil. Eggs, cheese, yogurt and lean red meats are consumed only occasionally and milk is avoided. Wine (more often, red wine) is consumed with restraint and with meals.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
The Mediterranean Diet and Health Benefits – What Does the Data Say?

1. Serra-Majem L, Roman B, Estruch R. Scientific evidence of interventions using the Mediterranean diet: A systematic review. Nutr Rev 2006;64:S27-S47.
3. Simopoulos AP. The Mediterranean diets: What is so special about the diet of Greece? The scientific evidence. J Nutr 2001;131:3065S-3073S.

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