Cruising to good health with the Mediterranean diet

With all of the “fad diets” out there, it can be hard to know what diet changes are the best to make. Sometimes, good quality diets can be wrongly categorized into these fads, which can make it difficult to determine what’s a good plan and what isn’t.

Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet is not a fad, and that the changes associated with the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial to your health.

So what are the need-to-knows?

Meghan Martinson, a registered dietician on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Grapevine, breaks down some commonly asked questions.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that includes traditional foods of the region near the Mediterranean Sea that includes fish and seafood, red wine and whole grains.

What are the potential benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

Research has shown that the benefits of this style of eating have revealed reduced risk of heart disease and death from heart disease. It also suggests a correlation between a reduced risk of death from cancer and rate of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

What do you eat on the Mediterranean diet?

Eating mostly plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts) and choosing healthy sources of fat intake are highlight worthy! Emphasis is placed on choosing omega-3 fatty acid rich fish like salmon, albacore tuna and trout because you should be eating fish at least twice a week.

When cooking and grilling meats, make sure to bake, broil or grill meats instead of frying or breading them.

Does that mean eating fat is healthy?

Yes, however, you should choose healthy sources of fat. Avoid saturated fats like butter and opt for “unsaturated fats” like canola and olive oil that can help lower cholesterol levels.

The Mediterranean diet is not just a diet to promote weight loss, it’s a diet change that promotes improved health.

If you are interested in improving your heart health, talk with your physician or a registered dietitian about whether the Mediterranean diet might be right for you.

Sources: F. Sofi, R. Abbate, GF Gensini and A. Casini. “accruing evidence on benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on health: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 92:1189-96

About the author

Meghan Martinson, RD
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Meghan is a Registered Dietitian at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine, and works in outpatient nutrition counseling and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband.

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Cruising to good health with the Mediterranean diet