The Mediterranean Diet

As a Nutritionist, I often get asked what I think the best diet for good health is. Of course, there is no
‘one size fits all’ when it comes to Nutrition, but if I’m being honest, its’s hard to find many faults
when it comes to a Mediterranean diet, and it would be the diet that I most align my own with.

What’s the Mediterranean diet all about?

The diet differs by country but in general, it’s a diet high in fresh fruit and veg, packed full of
legumes, nuts, beans, grains and cereals and eating fish regularly as well as other sources of
unsaturated fats like olive oil. This way of eating limits dairy products and all other meat, including
chicken, turkey and red meat, so essentially it’s a Pescetarian diet. Coupled with the occasional glass
of red wine as a treat if you drink, it’s not such a bad diet to have!

What diseases does it prevent?

The Mediterranean diet is known to aid and even delay the onset or prevent the following diseases and conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Inflammatory conditions such as Arthritis

  • Cancer, especially breast Cancer

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Skin conditions such as Psoriasis

Studies examining the underlying mechanisms that explain the benefits of the diet suggest that it is
its effect on inflammation, blood sugar and BMI that promote these health improvements.
You can make your diet more Mediterranean by:
  • Eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg; 5 or more portions a day is the aim.
  • Including lots of whole grains and cereals in your diet. There’s no need to be afraid of glutenunless you are Coeliac or are sensitive to Gluten.
  • Red meat should be limited, if not completely avoided, and poultry should only beconsumed in small amounts too.
  • Dairy should be kept to a minimum; avoid creamy sauces and enjoy cheese in smallquantities.
  • Make fish the staple meat in your diet, and ensure you include a mixture of oily and non-oilyfish.
  • Snack on nuts instead of convenience snacks like chocolate, crisps and bars.
  • Avoid butter and other saturated fats like coconut oil and instead choose fats such as oliveoil
  • If you are consuming alcohol, opt for a glass of red wine instead of your usual tipple.

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Katie Kavanagh

Katie Kavanagh

Katie is a registered Associate Nutritionist with the UKVRN through the Association for Nutrition. Katie completed her Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Health in Glasgow Caledonian University and her Bachelors Degree in UCD in Health and Performance Science. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked in a kitchen catering company, and for Our Lady’s Hospice Harolds Cross and is heavily involved with UCD Boxing Club. Her areas of interest are Vegetarian diets, disease prevention and Sports Nutrition.
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