There are so many diets out there. From the latest craze trending on social media to promising radio commercials that make their way their way on the radio, there is certainly not a lack of creativity on ways to improve your health. As a dietitian, I hear about many different diets from patients, friends and family members. How do you know what is going to work? You have to separate fact from fiction and look at the evidence. The Mediterranean diet has been well researched from the 1950s, with studies ranging from 6 months to over 4 years. Even the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as a way to promote health and prevent heart disease.

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The research and the benefits.

e are many health benefits to the Mediterranean diet. A systematic review from the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the Mediterranean diet is an effective strategy to manage diabetes and lower the risk of heart disease, which are 2 of the leading causes of death in the United States. This review showed that several studies found the participants to have a greater reduction in A1c, triglycerides, weight loss and higher HDL levels, (the good cholesterol) when compared to control diets. Obesity is considered a state of chronic low grade inflammation. The Mediterranean diet is nutrient dense and places emphasis on fruits, vegetables and omega 3s. Research is emerging that suggests a plant based diet is an anti inflammatory diet and review articles are showing that the Mediterranean diet can specifically help reduce inflammation and weight (click here and here).

 

So what exactly is this diet?

The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and lentils. Olive and canola oils are used instead of butter and spices are used in place of salt. The Mediterranean diet also includes a low to moderate amount of dairy, fish, poultry and wine. Eggs are limited to 7 per week. Red meat is kept to a minimal amount and sweets are even more limited.

 

Check this out too!

Fish is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. It is an excellent source of protein and omega 3s. To learn more about the benefits of fish, check out our article here.

 

The bottom line.

Although there is more than one diet available to promote good health, the Mediterranean diet is backed by research and has been around for a significant amount of time. More research is needed to determine the exact effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet for treating diseases beyond cardiovascular health but overall this is a good way to make balanced eating part of your everyday routine.

 

Recipes that fit.

We made a list of our original recipes that can fit into a Mediterranean style diet!

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Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potatoes

 

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Roasted Chickpeas 3 Ways

 

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Vegan Black Bean Sliders with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

 

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Salad Dressing Trio

 

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10 Minute Pesto Pizza

 

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Homemade Honey Mustard Salmon & Potatoes

 

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Quick Kale Almond Pesto

 

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Tropical Mango Salsa

 

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3 Ingredient Strawberry Sorbet

 

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Quinoa Chili

 

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Shrimp Pesto Pasta Primavera

 

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Simple Cranberry Oats

 

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Pecan Crusted Chicken

 

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Refreshing Tabbouleh Salad

 

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Spicy Tuna Bowl

 

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Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad

 

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Berry-Nana Smoothie

 

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Sweet White Bean Pumpkin Dip

 

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Low Sodium Tomato Sauce

 

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3 Ingredient Carrot Fries

 

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Indian Inspired Vegetable and Barley Soup

 

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Italian 3 Bean Salad

 

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Eggplant Pizza

 

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Garden Fresh Salsa

 

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Creamy Spiced Pear Quesadilla

 

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Blackened Fish Tacos

 

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Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes with Zucchini

 

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Homemade Peanut Butter