Research shows that eating a Mediterranean-style diet may help people with type 2 diabetes keep their disease under control without drugs better than following a typical low-fat diet.
Mediterranean diet is basically the dietary traditions followed by the people of Greece, Spain and southern Italy who live around the Mediterranean Sea. A new study from Italy shows that people with type 2 diabetes who ate a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and whole grains with at least 30% of daily calories from fat (mostly olive oil) were better able to manage their disease without diabetes medications than those who ate a low-fat diet with no more than 30% of calories from fat (with less than 10% coming from saturated fat choices).
Mediterranean diet mainly consists of lots of food from plant sources freshly eaten minimally processed, locally grown, and seasonal and very little food from animal sources
Foods mainly are fresh fruits, vegetables, sea fresh fish, herbs, bread, grains, nuts and seeds, non refined oils like olive oil which is 25% to 35% of fat consumed and low consumption of saturated fats, moderate consumption of cheese and yoghurt, honey and fresh fruits for desserts, lots of fresh fish and unrefined cereals.
Vegetables consumed should be at least 1 pound and red meat consumed sparingly only. Lots of physical activity and consumption of wine if taken should only be 1 glass for women and 2 glasses for men daily with meals.
Fruits are mainly grapes, raisins, olives, avocado, strawberries, raspberries, currant, blue berries, grapes, black olives, orange, apple, pear, figs, pomegranates, dates, passion fruits, cherry, apricot, grapefruit, peach, prunes, quince, bergamot and plums.
Vegetables are spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, white peach, bell pepper, carrot, beetroot, tomato, onion, shallots, scallions, green onion, celery, eggplant, capers, cucumber, lemon, Zucchini, white and red cabbage, mushroom, grapevine leaves, artichokes, potatoes, sweet corn and gherkin.
Grains are mainly pasta, couscous, rice, polenta, bulgur etc.
Legumes are carob, peas, beans, lima beans, chickpea and lentils.
Herbs and spices used are anise, basil, bay leaves, borage, peppercorns, garlic, chilies, chamomile, chervil, chives, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, sesame seeds, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, tarragon, and thyme, vanilla, mahaleb, red saffron, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin and caraway.
Cheese used are mainly from sheep and goats milk – bocconcini, edam, feta, halloumi, kasseri, kefalograviera, kefalotyri, roquefort cheese, mozzarella, mitzithra, manouri, manchego, peciino toscano , mascarpone, parmesan, and pecorino, anthotyro, xynotyro, ladotyri, anevato and batzos.
Nuts are almonds, fennel, poppy, sesame, pistachio nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts and chestnuts.
Fish and fillets are herring, salmon, trout, tuna, anchovies, sardines, mackerels, cod, and carp. Sea foods like octopus, clams, mussels and squids are also eaten.
A wide variety of these foods consumed daily has been found to be very good for the heart as well.
Overall, the Mediterranean diet has shown, particularly in combination with regular exercise, to promote good heart health and is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cancer.