Q. "At a recent check-up, the nurse recommended I follow a Mediterranean-style diet. Why is this a healthy way to eat?"
Vicky, Lake View, SA
A. Professor Jennie Brand-Miller responds:
Studies show that of all eating plans, the Mediterranean diet is the most effective at preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The traditional Med diet comprises mainly plant foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts, olive oil, and herbs and spices, along with oily fish and small servings of red meat and alcohol.
Although this diet is higher in fat than a conventional healthy diet (35 to 40 per cent as opposed to less than 30 per cent), most of that is olive oil, which is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and phytonutrients, plant substances with a high nutritional value.
A Mediterranean-style diet has a naturally low-GI score thanks to its abundance of legumes and unrefined grains. These foods can stabilise your blood-sugar levels, helping you beat hunger, burn fat and maintain your metabolic rate, all of which promote weight loss and enhance your general health and well-being.