It is a special diet inspired by the eating patterns by Greeks, Southern Italians and Spanish people in the 1940s and 1950s. This diet mainly focuses on the high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, and moderate consumption of fish, dairy products (mainly cheese and yogurt), wine and lowest consumption of non-fish meat products.

There are many positive reviews that the Mediterranean diet made easy many aspects of a person’s lifestyle. It has also proven effective in lowering the risk of heart disease and early death. Consumption of olive oil has reportedly kept the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegeneration, and several chronic diseases at bay. Simple steps to follow the Mediterranean diet will take you a long way to a healthy lifestyle.

History of Mediterranean Diet

The main inclination of the Mediterranean diet was to showcase the eating patterns of Crete, Greece and, southern Italy. Albeit it was first made famous worldwide in 1975 by an American biologist named Ancel Keys and a chemist named Margaret Keys. The latter is a wife and collaborator to the former. At that time, the Mediterranean diet failed to become renowned all over the world in the 1990s. Researchers claim that Mediterranean diet is good for our health which was emerged for the results of the epidemiological studies in Naples and Madrid. Seven Countries Study later confirmed the same with the first publication that appeared in the 1970s and a detailed book report in the 1980s. The most usually comprehended volume of the Mediterranean diet was presented amongst others by none other than Walter Willett of Harvard University’s School of Public Health from the mid-1990s.

When the Mediterranean diet is comprehended through the lens of the mainstream nutrition, it is considered as a paradox. Albeit the people residing in the Mediterranean places are deemed to consume fat in relatively a higher amount. They also have lower rates of cardiovascular diseases in their system, unlike the United States of America, where similar level of fat consumption is noticed. This parallel phenomenon is called the French Paradox.

During the early Renaissance period, a diet super-loaded with salads was encouraged in England by Giacomo Castelvetro in A Brief Account of the Fruits, Herbs, and Vegetables of Italy. It became a trend by 2010.

In Portugal

When Ancel Keys and his team were at large researching about the Mediterranean diet and compared it with the eating patterns with the people in the United States and the most developed countries at that point of time, some people deemed this particular diet as “The Diet of the Poor”. According to Maria de Lourdes Modesto, a famous Portuguese gastronomist, who later met Keys, Portugal was also included in their crusade of observation and studies. They concluded that Portuguese follow the purest Mediterranean diet ever, no wonder everyone looks fit there. However, Salazar who was the dictator of Portugal, claimed that he did not want Portugal to be deemed as what people refer to as the Diet of the Poor.

But as the time went by, this diet became well known for its health benefits. And people sometimes do refer it to as a so-called Atlantic Diet.

Author Bio – Sheila May is a cook and nutritionist who has lived in Italy, Greece and Spain. She recommends the Mediterranean diet to promote healthy and smart eating habits.  Fresh produce tastes great too!