bowl of tabouleh

If you’re looking to incorporate more whole grains into your meals, the Mediterranean Diet (or Med Diet) is a great place to look for inspiration. This traditional pattern of eating is both flavorful and satisfying, and comes highly recommended by health professionals and nutrition scientists because of the well-documented health benefits associated with it. The month of May is International Mediterranean Diet Month, which means that here at the Oldways Whole Grains Council, we’re taking this opportunity to fill our plates with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and olive oil!

So What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet reflects a way of eating that is traditional in the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. Whole grains and other plant-based foods are the foundation of the Med Diet, making up the largest, bottom section of the Med Diet pyramid. Fish and seafood are consumed a few times a week and small portions of meat, dairy and cheese are used extra flavoring or as a garnish on a dish daily to weekly.

But it goes beyond food – after all, there’s more to being healthy and happy than just eating great food. Shifting toward a vibrant Mediterranean lifestyle means getting outside, being more active, and sharing the pleasure of delicious eating with family and friends.

a picture of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

What Are the Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

Decades of scientific research indicate that the Med Diet offers a wide spectrum of health benefits to those who embrace this pattern of eating. In fact, evidence shows that the Med Diet can help you:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Lower your risk of high blood pressure
  • Lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Fight certain cancers and chronic diseases
  • Achieve weight loss and weight management goals
  • Resist depression
  • Reduce asthma
  • Ward off Parkinson’s Disease

Whole Grains, Mediterranean-Style

The Med Diet is packed with delicious whole grain options, from bulgur and barley, to farro and freekeh. It’s very easy to incorporate the delicious flavor and unmatched texture of whole grains into every meal you eat. Here are a few of our favorite ways to eat whole grains with a Mediterranean flair:

A slice of toast topped with ricotta and veggies

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Dinner:

  • Make Med-style pita pizzas topped with your favorite vegetables
  • Cook up some whole grain pasta and mix in sautéed or roasted vegetables
  • Instead of serving plain rice or potatoes with your meal, make a grain-and-veggie salad as a side
  • Enjoy a meze platter with whole grain crackers or bread, hummus, tabbouleh, olives, dried fruit and sliced veggies

 

If you’re looking for other ways to immerse yourself in all the Med Month excitement, check out our How Well Do You Know Mediterranean Foods? quiz, follow along on our Med Month Calendar, and show us how you’re celebrating by using #MedDietMonth on social media. (Caroline)


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