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May is International Mediterranean Diet Awareness Month

May is International Mediterranean Diet Awareness Month

When it comes to health, flavour, ease and satiety - the Mediterranean diet ticks all the boxes.

There's a good reason that the Med diet is ranked by experts as the best for our health year after year. This traditional eating pattern has the largest body of published evidence showing its beneficial impact on our health—a reduction in cardiovascular disease, heart disease, cancer risk, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.

It isn't a quick fix to weight loss; it's a way to eat that's simple, sustainable and realistic without being restrictive. It combines a healthy balance of mainly whole plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, legumes, nuts and wholegrain, fish/seafood, chicken, some dairy, and a small amount of red meat and red wine. 

At its core is its key component - Extra virgin olive oil, which is the main source of fat, which is used on a daily basis. Research suggests that EVOO's unique anti-inflammatory antioxidant compounds, polyphenols, reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses.


Foods to eat as part of the Mediterranean diet

  1. Fruit and vegetables. These nutrient-dense foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Fill your plate with mainly vegetables. Cook vegetables in our EVOO and plenty of herbs and spices to add plenty of flavour and added plant nutrients. Think of ways where you can add more into your meals. Load up omelettes, scrambled eggs, smoothies, add different varieties to salads and stews, make homemade veggie sauces for pasta. Add fruit to your Greek yoghurt, salads and homemade granola or oats.
  2. The true cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Drizzle it, cook with it, or enjoy a morning shot. It is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, a leading cause of many chronic diseases.
  3. Fish is the preferred source of protein, so try to include it at least three times a week. Oily fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring and shellfish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for cognitive and heart health. You can include some lean protein, such as chicken and eggs, but try to reduce your red meat intake to once a week.
  4. Swap out refined grains for whole grains, a staple in the Mediterranean diet. Whole grains are high in fibre, helping to support a healthy digestive system.
  5. Switch white bread, rice and pasta for brown; try bulgar wheat, freekeh, quinoa, and barley.
  6. Include beans and pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, butter beans, and haricot beans. Again, these are high in fibre and great for our digestive system.
  7. Choose healthier fermented dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, kefir, and feta cheese, rather than processed, sugary varieties.
  8. Snacking: Choose heart-healthy nuts and seeds, which are high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats. Pair these with some fruit. Apple wedges with nut butter are a great filling snack.
  9. If you eat a whole-food diet full of all the above, you should feel full and satisfied and, therefore, less likely to reach for processed foods and sugar. If you do crave sugar, enjoy a smaller portion or some fresh fruit.
  10. A small glass of red wine with meals each day.


If you need help getting started on the Med diet, visit our website for tips and extra virgin olive oil recipesor purchase a copy of the Governor's Kitchen cookbook.