Fit And Well Idaho: Mediterranean Diets


By Brittany Cooper

Kimberly, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Each week on Get Active, we show you what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Mediterranean Diet is one that's been encouraged by health advocates for years, yet, lacked major research to prove it was effective...until now.

Spanish researchers tracked participants for around five years and found a 30% reduction rate in heart disease, mainly strokes.

Ah pasta. A staple of the Mediterranean cuisine.

But did you know the Mediterranean Diet also consists of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains?

Jill Skeem, a macrobiotic health counselor says, "the Mediterranean Diet is really the diet they eat in the Mediterranean area and a lot of it is olive oil, it is grains. We're one of the few countries that focus our meal around grains, but there they do polenta, they do barley, they do faro which is one of the oldest grains we have."

Meat is not featured as much in this diet compared to American fare.

Skeem says, "it's very rarely they eat as much meat protein as we do in this country. It's more like an accent."

A product to always keep on hand? Beans..."which can make a quick soup, it can make a quick side dish, it can make a main course. You can do beans with onions and carrots and serve it over polenta which is another quick grain to have."

The study found a Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts can significantly reduce heart attacks, strokes and deaths...associated with heart problems.

Skeem adds, "a good healthy snack is almonds or walnuts. It's important to dry roast them so you can make them more digestible...Food is so important to your health and I don't know if we put as much importance on it as we should."

So when it comes to Mediterranean fare, it's all about looking outside the box.

The New England Journal of Medicine published this study online.
More than 7,700 people participated, between the ages of 55 to 80.