Healthy Mediterranean Diet

Continuous trend: This form of nutrition has been celebrated for decades. Why?

Feast like on vacation: fish instead of meat

© W & B / Jörn Rynio, Martina Ibelherr

Professor Schulze, why have so many researchers and doctors been recommending the Mediterranean diet for so long?

Several studies show: This diet has a very good effect on the body. It can even prevent heart attacks and reduce the risk of vascular disease.

Why is this diet of all things considered so healthy?

This form of nutrition has been very well researched. The first study of the Crete Diet, as it is also known, was made in the 1950s. We therefore know exactly: The positive effect on the body can largely be explained by the low consumption of meat and animal products and the use of vegetable oils.

Then why don't everyone eat like Italians or Greeks?

It probably doesn't fit in with our culinary tradition. Because it doesn't just matter what comes on the plate, but also how you eat: take your time and consciously sit and enjoy with others. Purely in terms of diet, our home-style cooking is also good for it. Only the meat portions would have to be smaller.

Professor Matthias Schulze is a nutritionist and heads the Department of Molecular Epidemology at the German Institute for Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE)

© W & B / Jonas Holthaus

In the Mediterranean region, too, you often see not only fruit and vegetables on the plates, but white bread, pasta or ham ...

The term Mediterranean diet stands for a form of nutrition that was typical for the region some time ago. Today it has changed. There are also fast food chains, highly processed products and sugared drinks in the Mediterranean region. Some of them let themselves be seduced and no longer eat typical of the Mediterranean.

What is typical of the Mediterranean?

Lots of vegetables and fruits. Legumes, nuts and cereal products should also be on the menu. Meat is rarely on the plate, but fatty fish play a role. And don't forget: olive oil. It is constantly used in cooking and replaces sauces and spreads.

Is the diet suitable for losing weight despite the high-fat food?

Absolutely. But you have to know: There are few scientific studies that a certain diet is particularly suitable for losing weight. It is important: a diet should always be hypocaloric. This means that you are consuming fewer calories than you are consuming.

Which typical German foods are suitable for the Mediterranean diet?

Rapeseed oil is a good alternative to olive oil. It also has a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids. There are also plenty of healthy cereal products in Germany, such as whole grain bread, oat flakes or spelled pasta. Whole grain products are traditionally not part of the Mediterranean diet, but they too can reduce health risks and are recommended.