Posted in Healthy Eating

10 Reasons the Mediterranean Diet is a Great Option - By Gretchen Scalpi RD, CDE

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter or blog visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

I am often asked my opinion about the best kind of diet to follow. Frankly, I don’t like using the word diet, because to me it implies something that is restrictive.  I’d rather regard the concept of healthful eating as an “eating plan” or “eating style”. So even though the Mediterranean Diet has the word diet in its name, it really isn’t a diet at all. It’s a style of eating that has a lot going for it in terms of taste, appeal and health benefits.  Here’s what you will find if you choose to eat this way:

 

Generous amounts of fruits and vegetables:  this is the focal point of the eating plan itself.  Fruits and vegetables provide an abundance vitamins and minerals not found in other categories of food.  The nutritional content is high and the caloric content is low in fruit and vegetables, making them a wonderful choice overall.

 

Foods rich in fiber:  whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds.  Fiber is essential for digestion, intestinal health and disease prevention.  Best of all, high fiber foods makes us feel full and satisfied, and this to helps prevent overeating.

 

Less sugar: fresh fruit, is naturally lower in sugar, and is the basis for most desserts in this eating plan. Consuming less sugar can help prevent obesity and health related problems.  

 

More Omega 3 fatty acids: fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are included on a regular basis.  Omega 3 fatty acids provide cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as help our brains function better.

 

Increased satiety: food plans that include healthy fats (monounsaturated fat from olive oil and omega 3 fatty acids) are more satisfying, filling and help prevent hunger. Feeling satisfied with meals keeps us from overeating.

 

Reduced risk for pre-diabetes, diabetes or insulin resistance: compared to a low fat diet, this style of eating has been found to help people lose weight more effectively.  Maintaining normal weight is the best way to prevent diabetes or pre-diabetes.

 

A versatile plan that works well for people with or without health issues: besides the fact that the Mediterranean diet benefits those with diabetes or heart disease, it’s simply a way of eating that is healthy for anyone.

 

More focus on plant-based foods:   the wide variety of antioxidants found in plants help protect body cells from inflammation and damage.  Fruits and vegetables with bright colors (red, orange, purple, green) have the highest amounts of beneficial antioxidants.

 

Simple, whole foods rather than processed foods: foods that are less processed and closer to their original form provide the greatest amount of nutrition and fiber.

 

Includes red wine: red wine in moderation provides a source of resveratrol and flavinoids, which help increase good cholesterol and prevent blood clotting.

 

If eating and living healthier is one of your goals, consider adapting the Mediterranean style of eating. It’s a plan that is quite easy to maintain, does not skimp on taste or leave you feeling deprived. The people of the Mediterranean have eaten this way for centuries, and it’s a plan for life that truly works!

 

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com