Researchers have looked at the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for more than half a century. The Seven Countries Study, organized by Ancel Keys in 1958, was the first to demonstrate that people eating a Mediterranean-style of eating that including fruits, vegetables, grains , beans, fish and olive oil were the healthiest. Crete, a Greek island, topped the charts. More recently, the Mediterranean-style of eating was highlighted in the 2015, Annual Review of Nutrition, stating that this eating pattern forms the basis of heart-healthy eating and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a Mediterranean eating pattern as a healthy choice.

However, there really is not “one” Mediterranean diet with at least 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, but common characteristics include a high consumption of vegetables, fruit, grains, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil with a moderate intake of yogurt, cheese, eggs and wine. Red meat is eaten in very small amounts.  But WHAT is in the diet is as important as HOW the food is eaten. Unlike the mindless, fast-paced, large portioned eating style of many American’s, the Mediterranean culture embraces the slow food movement where meals are enjoyed slowly, seated at a table with friends and family.

Once you learn the foundation of the Mediterranean eating pattern, you realize you are not boxed in to one eating style. There is room to swap spices and ingredients, enabling you to create your own style.

For more information on the Mediterranean style of eating go to Oldways.

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