If you’re a fan of avocado toast, dipping bread in olive oil, or just snacking on olives, then National Mediterranean Diet Month in May is for you. If you’ve never tried these foods, perhaps May is your time to branch out. Created in 2009, National Mediterranean Diet Month highlights the health benefits of this particular way of eating. So go ahead — dip those carrots in hummus and sprinkle your salad with feta cheese. Enjoy National Mediterranean Diet Month all May long.
National Mediterranean Diet Month - History
Olive oil drama
Spanish police claimed an international olive oil scam occurred, involving cheaper oils — like sunflower, avocado, and palm — being passed off as Italian olive oil.
Olive trees were cultivated
The farming of olive trees spreads to the Greek islands.
Oil production headed east
Historians believe the Syrians had land lush with olive trees, so they began producing olive oil.
Olive oil debut
Olive oil became prevalent in society around this time.
National Mediterranean Diet Month Activities
1. Explore new cuisines
Buy Mediterranean Diet cookbooks or skim Google recipes — and attempt to make dishes filled with foods you’ve never tried.
2. Start a 30-day challenge
Want to break bad eating habits and build healthier ones? Challenge yourself to try one new food, condiment, or spice every week. You can even get family and friends in on the action.
3. Throw a Mediterranean-inspired dinner party
You can impress your guests by offering a variety of olives, cheeses, and olive oils (for dipping bread), as well as preparing flavorful salads, fish and chicken. Plus, have fun decorating your space with Mediterranean-themed décor — think colors of the land and sea. Also, try rustic clay plates, mosaic-patterned tiles, and Moroccan-inspired fabrics.
4 Delicious Details About Olive Oil
1. It has serious health benefits
Olive oil is filled with many antioxidants, such as carotenoids and oleuropein — as well as vitamin E. It's also high in oleic acid, which can help reduce blood pressure.
2. There are multiple major producers
Spain, Italy, and Greece are the three largest producers of olive oil.
3. Some people use lots of it
It’s normal for people in Greece to consume 26 liters of olive oil every year.
4. Foods last longer
If you bake with butter, you may want to consider trying olive oil instead. The vitamin E and polyphenols can help your baked goods last longer.
Why We Love National Mediterranean Diet Month
A. It promotes healthy living
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes exciting foods that can help lower cholesterol and decrease cancer risks — while helping to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. Not only will you be improving your health, but you might lose some extra pounds in the process.
B. Cheese is on the menu
Some of the cheeses you can expect to consume in May are feta, halloumi, and ricotta. All in moderation, of course.
C. The food is delicious
There’s an emphasis on heathy fats (avocados, olive oil), flavorful spices, and herbs.