Do you want to switch to a much healthier diet but you just can’t find all the ingredients used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine? If so, you’ll be glad to know that you can still partake of the health benefits brought about by a Mediterranean style diet by following a modified Mediterranean diet.

So, what is the main difference between the two? And what makes the modified Mediterranean diet quite unique?

Well, basically there are no major differences between the modified and the traditional Mediterranean cuisine. They both follow the same dietary guidelines and hence, have the same effect on your general well-being. However, the modified version allows for wider food choices to allow people from all over the world to experience the same healthy goodness enjoyed by the Mediterranean people before they developed a taste for unhealthy Western-style diets.

Why Go Mediterranean?

Well, for a lot of good reasons. And this includes:

  • Protection against insulin resistance and diabetes. According to the data collected by the American Diabetes Association, about 8.3% of the total population of the United States is suffering from diabetes. It can lead to the development of several serious medical conditions that includes high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It may also lead to blindness, limb amputation, kidney and nervous system disease.
  • To maintain healthy blood pressure levels. According to a study published in the February 2008 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and adding low amounts of olive oil in the diet can effectively lower a person’s high blood pressure.
  • To prevent obesity. Do you know that the Mediterranean diet can help you lose excess pounds and keep them away for good? In a 10-year study involving 206 healthy participants between the ages of 15 and 80 in Spain, it was observed that increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables helped reduce adult weight gain. The report was published in the March 2008 issue of Obesity.
  • To prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. With 5 million people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and another 36 people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, anything that can help prevent these conditions from ruining people’s lives can be considered heaven-sent. And that is basically what the Mediterranean diet can do for you. You can read about the details of what the Mediterranean diet can do in keeping Parkinson’s disease at bay in the 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Ward off certain types of cancer. By eating a Mediterranean style diet, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer (published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) and post-menopausal breast cancer (American Journal of Epidemiology (2009) doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp257), among others.
  • Improve longevity. According to a prospective cohort study conducted by Professor Antonia Trichopoulou of the University of Athens Medical School in Athens, Greece, strict adherence to the dietary guidelines of the Mediterranean diet resulted in lower mortality rates. Moderate alcohol consumption accounted for a 23.5% reduction in mortality rate while low intake of red meat contributed a 16.6% reduction. Other significant contributors to lower mortality rates include high vegetable consumption (16.2%), high fruits and nuts consumption (11.2%), high ratio between monounsaturated and saturated fat intake (10.6%) and high legume consumption (9.7%). This report was published in the June 2009 issue of the British Medical Journal.

Aside from these significant health benefits, adopting a Mediterranean diet regime can help you lose and manage your weight more effectively, improve arthritis symptoms, and promote better eye and dental health. It can also help improve fertility and produce healthier babies, too.

Now that you know how the modified Mediterranean diet can help promote better health and general well-being, are you ready to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grain cereals? Are you ready to shift from a red meat dominated diet to one that strictly limits its consumption? Are you prepared to avoid all the foods you used to love but are definitely bad for your health? If you are, your quest for better health is literally just an arm’s reach away.

I hope this has been of some interest or help to you,

Ray Baker