The Best Diet for My Patients? Mediterranean

May 20, 2014 (Updated: August 16, 2018)
Lily Moran

Finally, there’s a simple, healthy and delicious diet plan that couldn’t be easier to stick with long term.

It helps you drop those extra pounds with ease, while slashing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

What’s so special about it?

Well, for one, it includes so much variety that you won’t feel like you’re giving up all of your favorite foods. Especially if you’ve tried one of today’s rigid and restrictive “fad” diets.

Second, there are piles of research showing that this healthy eating plan delivers exceptional health, renewed energ,y and protection against cardiovascular disease.

It even reduces the risk for stroke, cognitive difficulties, cancer, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

Third, the food tastes great and it’s satisfying. My patients never call this diet restrictive or boring.

And that’s a huge plus when it comes to sticking to a successful eating plan.

So how does it work? It’s simple!

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet.

Its name comes from the more typical eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Ocean—especially Greece, Italy, and Spain.

The key components of this eating plan include:

  • Fresh, high-quality (preferably organic) vegetables and fruit
  • Fresh, wild-caught fish
  • Whole, unrefined grains
  • Olive oil (organic and extra virgin)
  • Nuts, beans, and legumes
  • Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir, plus natural (not processed) cheeses…in moderation.

Red meat can be part of the Mediterranean diet, but typically only about once a month.

Eggs and poultry are also fine, about once a week. You don’t even have to give up the sweets as long as you limit them to once per week.

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You can even enjoy a nice glass of wine (one or two glasses per day)!

After his first month on the diet, my patient, Lee, told me it was the best eating plan he’d ever tried.

“I don’t feel like I’m on a diet,” he said, “but I’ve lost 8 pounds in four weeks without going hungry for even one day. I’m sold!”

When it comes to flexibility, this diet is hard to beat.

Best of all, you’ll be eliminating processed foods, refined sugars, and grains – all good things to avoid.

It’s important to pay attention to portion sizes, too.

Keep even whole, unrefined grains to a minimum. One slice of bread or one half-cup of pasta, rice, or cereal is considered a serving.

Going overboard with big plates of pasta or lots of bread dipped in olive oil can thwart your weight loss efforts.

In a few weeks to a few months, some people are able to give up cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes meds (I would strongly urge you to work with your doctor on this.)

But the Mediterranean is not just about food—it’s a lifestyle.

The Mediterranean lifestyle includes regular exercise (mostly walking), socializing, and a less stressful environment.

There are plenty of books and websites where you can learn more about the Mediterranean diet.

So if you’re looking for a versatile, flavorful way to stay healthy and enjoy meals, try this plan for a month and see if it works for you.

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