FROM OUR DIETITIAN: THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET & LIFESTYLE
December 30, 2020
It seems as though every day a new diet is introduced. While most of these trendy programs are lacking evidence to support their claims, there are a few popular diets that have been proven effective to benefit health. The Mediterranean Diet is one of them. First identified for its health benefits in the 1950s and 60s, it is one of the most researched diet patterns. There is a wealth of compelling evidence demonstrating its usefulness in improving various clinical markers of good health and preventing chronic disease.
Healthy Eating Pattern vs. Diet Prescription
The Mediterranean diet pattern doesn't stipulate rules, measurements, or food groups to avoid; rather, it provides general guidelines about the types of foods to emphasize and those to limit based upon the traditional eating patterns of those living in the Mediterranean region, whose exceptional health piqued the interest of researchers studying the relationship between diet and disease. Research has shown that some of the health benefits of this eating pattern are a result of the combination of foods eaten, not any individual component alone. The greatest health benefit results from all of the interacting factors of a lifestyle as opposed to any individual nutrient in isolation, like many "diets" prescribe.
Overall Guidelines of a Mediterranean Eating Pattern
At its core, the Mediterranean Diet is a plant-based eating pattern that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. While it does include lean animal protein like fish, seafood, poultry, dairy and eggs, red and processed meats are limited. This eating pattern is rich in healthy fats from liberal amounts of olive oil, fish, avocado, nuts and seeds. Components of this eating pattern vary by region based on what is locally available, rather than importing processed products. The traditional Mediterranean population consumes mostly--if not exclusively--whole foods and produce at the peak of their season. Water is the primary beverage of choice with moderate amounts of wine (maximum of one glass per day for women and two for men). Physical activity is a key component, focusing on enjoyable activities. The overall diet is focused less on portion and amount, with the individual free to eat intuitively.
Strategies for Creating a Medi Plate
- Include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs, seeds, nuts and olive oil.
- Focus on plant-based protein, fish and seafood, with small amounts of poultry, eggs, and milk
- Limit red and processed meat and added sugars
- Include healthy fats from olive oil, oily fish and nuts to benefit from omega-3 fatty acids
- Eat whole, fresh foods and limit processed foods.
- Hydrate adequately with water. Red wine can be enjoyed in moderation with meals.
- Daily physical activity is important.
Look for more information about the Mediterranean Lifestyle and its benefits in the coming months!
RADISH: RESTAURANT ASSOCIATES Delicious, Innovative, Sustainable, Healthy
Restaurant Associates guests want to eat better and feel better. At RA, our job is to make it easy for them. We created the RADISH program with the goal of enhancing the health and wellness of our guests through increased variety and visibility of better-for-you options.
Taking inspiration from Menus of Change, we sought to integrate wellness and sustainability under the emblem of RADISH: Delicious, Innovative, Sustainable and Healthy food.
We believe first and foremost that our food must be delicious. Innovation for the RADISH program comes not only in the form of culinary innovation, but also technology and integration with other wellness programs. Sustainability comes through in how we formulate our recipes and menus, and this is interwoven with the healthy food component.
We take very seriously the idea of deciding for others what is healthy and sustainable. We knew that we needed to start with nutrition criteria, emphasizing calorie balance, sodium, fat and sugar. Next, we wanted to build culinary themes, and we were heavily influenced by Menus of Change.
In order to promote wellness and sustainability, RADISH emphasizes:
1. More vegetable-forward cooking.
2. Less emphasis on animal products.
3. Appropriate portion sizes.
4. Healthier cooking methods.