May is National Mediterranean Diet Month. Why should we devote an entire month to eating a Mediterranean-style diet? Because the research backs up the health advantages of this style of eating.
It all started circa 1960 in several areas of the Mediterranean region, specifically the Greek island of Crete, other areas of Greece and southern Italy. Researchers were drawn to these areas because the adults living there had very low rates of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, as well as very long life expectancy. For examples, the natives of Greece had a rate of heart disease that was 90 percent lower than that of Americans at the time. (Mind you, heart disease and cancer are still currently two of the top killers of Americans.)
In addition to a physically active lifestyle, these Mediterranean natives consumed a diet that was rich in grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. In fact, more than 60 percent of the calories in their diets in the 1960s were supplied by these high-fiber, nutritionally-dense plant foods. The majority of the fat in the diet was provided by olives and olive oil, and fish and seafood was enjoyed at least twice a week. (Note: the latest recommendation from the USDA is to consume at least two fish meals, especially fatty fish such as salmon, weekly to increase longevity.)
Read more for further information and some great recipes!