The typical American version of Mediterranean cuisine includes, besides olive oil as the main source of fat, whole grain breads and pasta; legumes, nuts, and seeds; plenty of herbs and spices for flavor, rather than large amounts of salt; seafood high in omega fatty acids, like salmon; moderate portions of poultry, eggs, and dairy products; and small amounts of red meat and sweets.
The Mediterranean diet is popular because of the health benefits it provides for both the well and the unwell. Foods included in the diet should be minimally processed, which preserves their nutrient content. The large amount of fiber-containing foods and encouragement to drink water aid in preventing constipation. Olive oil is high in vitamins E and K, which assist in keeping the skin and eyes healthy. The philosophy behind the diet also promotes frequent physical activity and socialization, which are good for physical and emotional well-being.
Revised June 25th, 2016
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The term “Mediterranean Diet” means different things, depending on where you are and who you ask to define it. In the United States, it is most commonly understood to mean a diet in which high amounts of olive oil are consumed. Some Mediterranean cultures use olive oil only as a dressing.