The story of the Mediterranean diet begins in the 1960’s with the Seven Country study by the American scientist, Ancel Keys. The study showed that the eating pattern found in Italy and Crete in the 1950s and 1960s was associated with low rates of cholesterol and heart disease. A new concept was born: The Mediterranean Diet.
Since then, it has become one of the most studied diet out there, with studies showing that eating like a Mediterranean is beneficial well beyond heart health; it can lower your risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and depression. It has also been associated with longevity and weight loss.
Getting started with the Mediterranean Diet
Oldways, a non-profit food and nutrition education organisation with a mission to inspire healthy eating through cultural food traditions and lifestyles, recommends eight simple guidelines to incorporate into your diet:
- Eat lots of From a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and crumbled feta cheese to stunning salads, garlicky greens, fragrant soups and stews, healthy pizzas, or oven-roasted medleys
- Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, have smaller amounts
- Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt
- Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as herring, salmon, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and shellfish including mussels, oysters, and clams have similar benefits for brain and heart health
- Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. Build meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables, and heighten the flavour with fragrant herbs and spices. Down the road, try two nights per week
- Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals, especially extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados
- Switch to whole grains. Whole grains are naturally rich in many important nutrients; their fuller, nuttier taste and extra fibre keep you satisfied for Cook traditional Mediterranean grains like bulgur, barley, farro and brown, black or red rice, and favour products made with whole grain flour
- For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Choose from a wide range of delicious fresh fruits — from fresh figs and oranges to pomegranates, grapes and Instead of daily ice cream or cookies, save sweets for a special treat or celebration
The Mediterranean diet is a simple, satisfying way of life that has great health benefits to leave you looking and feeling at your best. Try some of the tips today.
Dana Cohen, Nutritional Therapist
My name is Dana Cohen, and I’m a qualified Nutritional Therapist and the owner of Mediterranean Nutrition clinic.
My love of food is derived from my Mediterranean heritage and has inspired me to become a nutritional therapist.
After attaining my Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine at Nature Care College in Sydney, I completed a Masters degree in Personalised Nutrition through Middlesex University in London. I am also a qualified Kalish Method mentor.