The SparkDiet: Mediterranean Style!
Lose Weight by Adding Color, Taste, and Texture
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
Juicy tomatoes growing under the Tuscan sun, oranges that burst with life, the steamy warmth of fresh-baked breads—there are several mouth-watering reasons to treat your taste buds to the flavors of the Mediterranean. The food is magnificent!
The Mediterranean diet approach is a composite of traditional cuisine and dishes from the regions that border the Mediterranean Sea (including Spain, Southern France, Southern Italy, Greece, Crete, parts of North Africa, parts of Turkey, and parts of the Middle East). But fortunately, you don’t have to hop continents to enjoy its fabulous flavors. It’s easy to add a little Mediterranean zest to your SparkPeople nutrition plan.
Besides taste, there are also a wide range of health benefits to this eating style. Reports indicate that people living in the Mediterranean have a lower risk of heart disease, decreased risk for certain types of cancer, and a longer life expectancy. In fact, a 2011 study published in The British Journal of Cancer showed the greater a participant's adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet, the lower his or his overall cancer risk was. While a 2009 study in The Journal of Nutrition showed the diet led to lower levels of abdominal fat, the kind linked to both heart disease and metabolic syndrome. And a major clinical study published this year in The New England Journal of Medicine found that about 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented with a Mediterranean-style eating plan.