First of all you may ask what a “Mediterranean Diet” is. This diet is referred to a dietary pattern typical in many regions in Greece and southern Italy in the early 1960s. A traditional Mediterranean diet has a high content of fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds.
Olive oil, a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, is a main component of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil enhances the taste and energy density of the vegetables and legumes, and as a result increases their consumption.
Plant foods have a high content of fiber, antioxidants, and other macronutrients. Dairy products, mainly cheese and yogurt, are consumed in low to moderate amounts on a daily basis as well as red meat. Consumption of fish and poultry is low to moderate and zero to four eggs is consumed in this diet weekly.
Plenty of researchers have shown the Mediterranean Diet benefits in prevention of different chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease. Different studies have shown that weight gain in participants who adhere to Mediterranean diet is lower than participants with lowest adherence to this diet.
There is also a high content of dietary fiber in this diet which increases satiety, decreases energy intake and as a result provides a better metabolic control together with lower total calorie intake than other dietary patterns. It is important to note that although you may think fat content in this diet is high, it mostly comes from vegetable sources, and recent trials and cohort studies have repeatedly shown that this property of the Mediterranean dietary pattern does not increase total calorie intake.
Based on evidence, it is a good idea to to adhere to the Mediterranean diet to prevent many chronic diseases. Making drastic changes in our diet will not benefit us in making long term lifestyle changes, so let's start with small and step by step changes to shift our taste preferences. Let's try consuming less sugary drinks and salty snacks and instead snack on fruits and vegetables, which is a common pattern in Mediterranean Diet. Trying to add olive oil to the salad we eat also can be helpful in adapting this diet pattern.