The Jakarta Post
One of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it allows for the consumption of a variety of dishes – in moderation, of course. (Shutterstock/Saschanti17)
The Mediterranean diet, inspired by the eating habits of the people of Greece, southern Italy and Spain, is too well known to be referred called a fad. Although first publicized in 1975 by American biologist Ancel Keys and his wife, chemist Margaret Keys, the diet didn't take off then. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet emerged in the spotlight through Walter Willett and his colleagues at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
The Mediterranean diet currently tops the US News and World Report’s annual list of best diets for 2019. A panel of nutrition experts and diabetes specialists analyzed 41 different trending diets, including Weight Watchers, the Atkins and Keto diets. The Mediterranean diet ranks No. 1 as the best healthy diet for heart conditions as well as the best plant-based diet.
Read also: Ketogenic diet: More benefit or harm?
The Mediterranean diet consists of high intake of fruits and vegetables and low intake of red meat and sugar. The coastal residents of the Mediterranean Sea are known for eating legumes and foods containing healthy fats.
Unlike Atkins or Ketogenic, the Mediterranean diet still allows for the consumption of a variety of dishes in moderation. Popular food choices within the dietary program include multigrain breads, fresh fruits, salads, peanuts, olive oil and salmon.
Focusing on the good fats in olive oil, avocado and salmon, the Mediterranean diet also lowers "bad" cholesterol, which has been proven as a cause of coronary heart disease. Diabetes is another health condition that this diet can prevent, as it promotes the consumption of fresh and unprocessed foods. Those who follow the Mediterranean diet also have lower risks of Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s, even breast cancer. (asw)