January 24, 2012
With all the confusion out there about what to eat—should I go raw? How much protein do I need? What about low carb?—it’s reassuring to know that the simple, native way Greek peasants ate as recently as 50 years ago is one of the healthiest and best-proven diets ever studied.
It’s also comforting to know that, of course, the Mediterranean Diet was not based on any fad, or what movie stars ate, but that instead it is the diet that was consumed for centuries in that region of the world. What’s more, there is simply no other diet that has been so well researched for its ability to prevent heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic diseases that plague the developed world.
In fact, you’re probably already familiar with many of the healthy diet principles that have entered our understanding of good-for-you food as a result of research into the Mediterranean Diet.
- Olive oil? Check—a staple of the Med Diet. Everything we know about the benefits of olive oil come thanks to what we’ve learned about how this diet rich in plant foods and unsaturated fat prevents disease.
- Moderate wine consumption? Check—although the research on this seems to waffle between a study indicating benefit this month, followed by a study next month that says alcohol is bad for you, there is clear evidence of some benefit to drinking wine, particularly red wine. If you’ve ever heard of the French Paradox, then you’re familiar with a key Mediterranean Diet concept. That’s right: the original scientific article on the benefits of the Med Diet confirmed for the whole world the value of red wine.
- Whole grains? You guessed it—another traditional Med Diet staple that has now been promoted by food manufacturers, cereal companies, and medical societies throughout the U.S. As you might imagine, Greek peasants ate rough brown bread full of fiber and all the nutrients from the whole grain.
- Plant-based diet? Long before this became a buzzword for sustainability, and championed by the raw vegan camp, Greek peasants were eating a diet based on plants. One reason for this is that it’s simply less expensive, and what their countryside could easily provide. The original Med Diet studies were done on the island of Crete, and islands tend not to be able to support a lot of grazing animals to be slaughtered for meat.
- The perils of excess saturated fat and cholesterol? Although this subject has become a little controversial in natural medicine circles, partially because the proponents of statin cholesterol-lowering drugs have pushed them as a panacea for seemingly all that ails us, Mediterranean Diet research was the first salvo in the war against cholesterol, and the first place where researchers really understood that a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol led to more heart disease.
So yes, you probably already knew more about the Mediterranean Diet than you may have realized. We’ve taken these healthy diet principles and translated them into a healthy eating plan for PMS and PMDD: The PMS Balance Diet, plus our guidance on what not to eat, make it simple to integrate the healthiest diet in the world into your life.