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  • Johanne Miucci-Vachon

The Mediterranean diet (or Cretan diet)

What is it ?

In the 1950s, the American Ancel Keys began to analyze the correlation between diet and health. By comparing data from seven different countries, he discovered that the inhabitants of the island of Crete, in Greece, had a particularly low rate of cardiovascular accidents.

The Cretan diet is composed of a high amount of fruits and vegetables, legumes and fats mainly provided by olive oil, fish, dairy products, red wine in moderation, and very little red meat. Following several studies, it has been demonstrated that this diet is indeed associated with a reduction in the risk of chronic diseases, in addition to a reduction in waist circumference.

Indeed, thanks to the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids (due to olive oil) and a reduced amount of saturated fatty acids or fatty meats, the Mediterranean diet has the effect of lowering the rate of cholesterol and atherosclerosis (accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries). The diet also provides an excellent source of antioxidants thanks to the fruit and red wine ingested. However, it is important to combine this lifestyle with regular exercise.

What do we eat when following the Mediterranean diet ?

Everyday :

  • Whole grain products

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Garlic, onion, spices and herbs

  • Olive oil

  • Pulses, nuts and seeds

  • Yogurt and goat or sheep cheese

  • Red wine (one 120 ml glass only)

Several times a week :

  • Fish

A few times a week:

  • Chicken and eggs

  • Sweet foods

A few times a month:

  • Red meat

The Mediterranean diet is easy to adopt and not very restrictive. It allows for a wide variety of foods and is compatible with an active social life. Like any diet, it is a lifestyle to adopt, not a miracle cure. Consult a health professional or a nutritionist before proceeding.

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