Thanks to Arizona Agriculture, You Can Find the Mediterranean Diet in the Desert

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: You might be surprised to learn that Arizona agriculture contributes to each area of a traditional Mediterranean diet. Indeed, our diverse agriculture in this desert state means every layer of the Mediterranean diet’s food pyramid is satisfied.

The Mediterranean diet is traditionally seated in the sea region around the southern region of Europe and the northernmost tip of Africa and the Middle East. But, it can be adapted to arid lands.

Last week, during the fifth annual Research Frontiers in Nutritional Sciences Conference, recently held at the University of Arizona, researchers and practitioners shared current research about the Mediterranean diet and ways they are advocating for the preservation and broad-based incorporation of the eating pattern, I had a chance to speak to nutritionists and others about Arizona agriculture.

I reminded the audience, in Arizona, you can be planting and harvesting somewhere 12 months out of the year.

Plus, Arizona is a leading state in the production of various types of citrus and lettuces, and also cauliflower, carrots, grapes, broccoli, spinach and cantaloupe. Plus, wine is one of the state’s fastest-growing agricultural segments, and Arizona is home to Hickman's Family Farms, one of the largest family-owned egg ranches.

Arizona has a number of other nutritional and agricultural benefits that support the Mediterranean diet. The state's aquaculture industry supports a sizable portion of tilapia, and dairy is the second-largest agricultural commodity in the state; all areas represented in the Mediterranean diet.

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