Mediterranean Diet

 2015-08

Author: Chloe Lee HK BioTek Ltd. Nutritionist Intern

The Mediterranean diet is not designed as diet for weight loss but a way of eating. It emphasizes eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber breads, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. Meat, cheese, and sweets should be consumed less. In Mediterranean diet, average of 35% to 40% of calories are come from fat. Most healthy items include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains are commonly rich in monounsaturated fats, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids; but low in saturated fat. Researches have shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In addition to olive oil, fish oils, nut or seed oils (such as canola, soybean, or flaxseed oil) and nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds) are also the main sources of unsaturated fatty acid.

The Mediterranean diet typically includes moderate amount of wine, usually red wine. This means no more than 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine daily for all women and men older than age 65, and no more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of wine daily for younger men. Drinking more than these recommendations may increase the risk of health problems, including suffer from certain types of cancer.

Besides, the below is some important information about Mediterranean diet which should be paid attention to:

Firstly, since the cost of the foods are high, and certain fruits and vegetables may only be available by seasons, they are hardly purchased by the people residing in remote areas. Furthermore, there is a risk for weight gain due to high intake of fats.

Secondly, people allergic to latex may cross-allergic to chickpea and other foods from the Leguminosae family, which are the common food in the Mediterranean diet.

Thirdly, there is a risk for reduced iron levels and possible calcium loss, resulting from the reduced consumption of dairy products. Consult a healthcare professional to determine if additional supplementation is necessary.

Fourthly, avoid drinking alcohol if pregnant, breast-feeding or at risk for breast cancer. Clinical studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet is likely safe for pregnant women, with the exception of alcohol consumption. However, the diet may be lacking in iron and supplementation may be necessary.

Lastly, the diet cannot be recommended for children because of a lack of available data. Consult a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.