Transition to a Mediterranean-style diet
In the 1960s, researchers started noticing that people living in areas that bordered the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and southern Italy, had fewer deaths related to heart disease than people living in the United States or northern Europe. Years of research since have found pretty good evidence that the traditional Mediterranean way of eating has a lot to do with this heart-healthy trend.
Other studies have found that following a Mediterranean-style diet is also associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and dying of cancer, better management and prevention of type 2 diabetes, and a lower risk of dementia. In addition, the Mediterranean diet improves the number of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract (gut microbiome) and reduces inflammation in the body.
As a result, the Mediterranean diet is one of several healthy eating plans recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote health and prevent chronic disease.
While no single definition of the diet exists, the typical Mediterranean diet relies heavily on plant foods and follows these kinds of patterns:
- Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Daily consumption of healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds and extra-virgin olive oil
- Weekly intake of fish, white meat poultry without the skin, legumes and eggs
- Limited amounts of whole-fat dairy products such as a tablespoon of butter a day, or an 8-ounce glass of whole milk
- Limited intake of red meat, equivalent to about 3 ounces (or the size of a deck of cards) a day
- A small amount of wine, which is 5 ounces a day for men or 3 ounces a day for women
Some simple substitutions can help you put the recommendations into practice.
- Swap out butter or margarine — Try olive oil for cooking or for dipping whole-wheat bread.
- Look for alternatives to red meat — Make a meatless meal, such as one based on legumes (think peas) or beans. Or substitute grilled or baked lean, skinless chicken breast or grilled or baked fish or shellfish, such as tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel or herring.
- Take a pass on full-fat dairy — Go for low-fat or nonfat milk, low-fat cheeses and low-fat or nonfat Greek or regular yogurt. You can also try milk alternatives, such as almond or oat milk.
- Get out of the habit of reaching for salt — Sprinkle herbs and spices first, which can eliminate or lessen the need to season with salt.
- Pass on white bread, white pasta or processed cereals — Instead, stock your kitchen with whole-grain breads, pasta and cereal.
- Resist pouring on cream-based sauces — Use olive oil- or tomato-based sauces.
- Avoid soda, diet soda or juice — Fill your glass with water, carbonated or mineral water, seltzer or unsweetened tea.
- Swap almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts for peanuts.
- Limit prepackaged, store-bought desserts, cookies and cakes — Go for homemade sweet treats. Don’t deprive yourself. Just remember to have everything in moderation.
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How does the Mediterranean Diet help with gout attacks. Can you eat potatoes and eggs if you have gout? How often? How do you decrease the swelling from gout?
Hi @neetneet, Gout is caused by the excessive buildup of uric acid in the body, which in turn can cause inflammation and a flare up of your symptoms. The Mediterranean Diet plays a roll in gout prevention by reducing key uric acid producing elements such as purine, from your daily food intake, thereby lowering the inflammation in the body. Generally, when the inflammation is lowered, the swelling is reduced.
I found a few articles online that help shed light on how the diet works to lower the risk for gout. This one in particular went into fairly good detail and explains how the diet works, why it’s so beneficial and, it parallels this great article from Mayo Transition to a Mediterranean-Style Diet.
The Gout Site has a very informative article for your question about eating potatoes. If you look through their entire site it provides more ideas for prevention. https://www.thegoutsite.com/potatoes-and-gout/ A little caution if you look into the home remedies as these are not proven. It’s always important to seek the advice of your physician first.
And lastly, an article you might find helpful regarding eggs! From several other credible sites I perused, it appears there is little problem with eating eggs (in regards to gout). This site also has a beneficial list of foods to further reduce uric acid, which is the goal in preventing gout. https://www.healthline.com/health/egg-and-gout
Hopefully you’ll find the information helpful and it will lure you into trying out the healthier diet that can reduce inflammation in the body. Do you have frequent gout attacks?
Thank you for this information. I am trying to balance a gout diet while also including one that follows Coumadin and Stage III Kidney disease. This information was a great source of comfort and provided guidance on what to include as a meal. I think if I follow the Mediterranean Diet it will address all 3 areas and help to keep down Gout attacks for my husband. We are vegetarians and were eating fish occasionally but we have excluded that from our menu choices. We are using a lot of plant based products and watching sodium levels. I will watch as I return to some meals with chicken breast. Organic low sugar peanut butter and a return to egg whites and not egg beaters. Thank you again.