Eating Mediterranean Style When You Have Diabetes
The Mediterranean-style eating pattern has been shown to protect against heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Studies have also suggested that this eating pattern may help with weight and blood glucose management, which means it can be considered a good meal-planning option for people with type 2 diabetes. With these potential benefits, it’s easy to see why so many people want to follow a Mediterranean lifestyle!
The Mediterranean-style eating pattern or diet reflects the way of eating that is typical of people in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Studies have shown that people in the Mediterranean region are some of the healthiest in the world. The Mediterranean-style eating pattern focuses mainly on fresh, seasonal, and locally grown plant foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and nuts) and supplements these foods with small amounts of dairy products, fish, and poultry. Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, and rainbow trout — can be enjoyed a few times per week. Olive oil is the main source of fat used for cooking foods. It’s a good source of monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol when eaten instead of saturated fats (found in butter, margarine, and other solid fats).
People who follow a Mediterranean-style eating pattern are encouraged to limit their consumption of red meat and high-sugar foods. However, wine may be enjoyed in small amounts with a meal if desired. It is recommended that women have no more than one drink per day and men have no more than two drinks per day. One drink or one serving of wine is a 5-ounce glass.
This eating plan’s emphasis on plant foods and moderate amounts of dairy, fish, and poultry contrasts with the typical “American diet,” which is often full of refined carbohydrates, large portions of proteins (including red meat and processed meats), and lots of fat and sodium. The typical American diet, unlike the Mediterranean-style eating pattern, is lacking in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
The Mediterranean way of eating is often referred to as the “Mediterranean diet.” Many people think of a “diet” as a temporary change in eating habits to bring on some desired result (often weight loss). But the Mediterranean-style eating pattern is more of a way of life than a short-term change to your eating habits. In addition to changing what you eat, this eating pattern may change how you think about food and mealtime. If you follow this eating pattern, you’ll want to make it a priority to include fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. This may mean planning trips to the farmer’s market to ensure you’re getting the freshest local ingredients. Another important part of the Mediterranean lifestyle is cooking, eating, and cleaning with family and friends. If you follow this eating pattern, try to make time in your schedule to sit down for a family meal and really enjoy your food and the process of cooking.