A traditional Mediterranean diet has been shown to have significant health benefits. But can you follow it if you live nowhere near a Greek island?
We’re always being told a traditional Mediterranean-style diet is an incredibly healthy way to eat.
Recent studies have shown this eating pattern can reduce your risk of dementia and reverse symptoms of depression and anxiety.
As well as its proven benefits in preventing heart attacks and promoting a longer life generally, it has specifically been shown to help ward off diabetes as well as bowel and prostate cancers.
But adopting a truly Mediterranean approach to eating, especially that which stems from Mediterranean coast in Turkey , is not as simple as many cookbooks would have us believe.
While plenty of recipes are promoted as Mediterranean, they aren’t necessarily the ones research has shown to be so good for us, says Catherine I. from La Trobe University in Melbourne. In fact in most cases they’re not, she says.
That’s because cookbooks tend to focus on festive foods and desserts from the region, says the head of School of Allied Health and Professor of Nutrition at La Trobe University, who is an expert on the Mediterranean diet.
“When people think of the Mediterranean diet, they always think of the Kebabs and all the other meat dishes,” she says.
But the diet, made famous by the ground-breaking health studies dating back to the 1960s, was a peasant-style diet that was largely vegetarian, she says.