A Guide to the Mediterranean diet

A Guide to the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean is a diet based on fresh, seasonal products and excludes processed, industrial products. It is rich in good fats thanks to the use of olive oil. Its menu consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals. There is little animal protein in this diet and when it is consumed, it is fish and eggs and not meat basically. Dairy products are mainly from goat and sheep rather than cow. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are generally attributed to olive oil, plethora of vegetables, nuts, fatty fish and seafood, red wine, a low place for over-processed products and a particular lifestyle (outdoor activities, socializing, etc.).

Typical foods and frequency of consumption

  • Whole meal products
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Garlic, onions, spices, and herbs
  • Olive oil and rapeseed oil as fats
  • Daily consumption of legumes, nuts, and seeds
  • Daily consumption of yoghurt and sheep’s cheese (but not milk)
  • Daily, but moderated, consumption of red wine (12 cl/day)
  • High consumption of fish (several times a week)
  • Limited consumption of chicken and eggs (a few times a week)
  • Limited consumption of sweets and pastry (a few times a week)
  • Very limited consumption of red meat (a few times a month)
  • Reasonable daily calorie intake (1800-2500 calories per day depending on physical activity)

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet

The virtues of the Mediterranean diet are well documented, especially for maintaining good cardiovascular health.

  • Protects against certain cancers
  • It is based on a diet mainly of plant origin
  • It is rich in quality unsaturated fats
  • Provides an excellent contribution of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins
  • Weight loss is not a priority

But can it be used for weight loss?

The Mediterranean diet is not effective for weight loss. More than a slimming diet, it is a healthy diet that can be implemented after an eventual weight loss because, even though it does not impose any restrictions, the daily caloric intake of this diet remains reasonable.

Mediterranean diet and fertility

There is clear evidence that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and plant proteins is beneficial for reproductive health, among other things. In fact, these foods are at the base of the Mediterranean pyramid.

At the cellular level, a healthy diet always helps to better protect our cells, including sperm and eggs, from oxidative stress. It is no surprise then, that the Mediterranean diet, with its high content of fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, stands out in the literature as the preferred choice for couples wanting to conceive.

In a study of 244 non-obese women undergoing IVF, the Mediterranean diet showed great promise. This study evaluated the relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the success of IVF treatment.  The results of this study showed that adopting the habits of the Mediterranean diet increased the likelihood of immediate pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child compared to women who followed other dietary patterns. For a 5-point increase, women were 2.7 times more likely to have an immediate pregnancy or a healthy childbirth.

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