The Mediterranean Diet – A Delicious and Heart-Healthy Eating Plan

The Mediterranean Diet – A Delicious and Heart-Healthy Eating Plan

The Mediterranean diet has been linked with reduced risks of heart disease, dementia, depression and even cancer. Focusing on whole food such as vegetables and whole grains with olive oil, fruit and nuts as key elements is the cornerstone of success for living well on this Mediterranean lifestyle.

Dietary patterns that promote overall wellness also emphasize moderate amounts of dairy and fish consumption (and wine with dinner), making the Mediterranean diet easy to adopt. Our 7-day meal plan makes eating Mediterranean style meals simple!

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Dieting according to the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes eating more fruits and vegetables, which has been shown to lower risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Consume local and seasonal produce when in season and enjoy it plain or dressed with olive oil (or another healthy fat). Leafy greens such as arugula, chard, collard greens and kale are popularly used for recipes as well as raw eating; other popular veggies include artichokes, asparagus beets fennel radishes and zucchini.

Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Enjoy both seafood and poultry in moderation for maximum health benefits.

Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat and highly processed foods are discouraged in the Mediterranean diet; in its place are preferred chicken, eggs and fish as sources of nutrition.

Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and herring offer a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are important in providing relief for inflammation as well as increasing cholesterol levels.

Nuts, seeds and legumes play an integral part in the Mediterranean diet, providing essential “good” monounsaturated fats, fiber and plant-based proteins.

Select low-fat dairy products. Avoid high-fat cheeses in favor of plain, lower-fat yogurts and 1% milk products.

Eat More Fish

The Mediterranean diet features plenty of seafood, particularly oily varieties like salmon and trout. Not only are fatty fish an excellent source of protein but they’re also full of heart-protecting omega-3 fats which may reduce risk factors associated with heart disease.

Substitute butter with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Drizzle it over salads, cooked vegetables and whole grains for a tasty drizzle.

Avoid processed meats and poultry in favor of seafood and healthy beans and nuts as sources of protein. Try to incorporate three to four servings of fish per week (3 ounces cooked = one serving), while keeping red meat consumption to one per week and opting for light cheese with lower fat levels instead.

Eat Less Dairy

One reason the Mediterranean diet has been linked with lower rates of long-term diseases is its reduced amount of saturated fat intake; rather, its focus is more on monounsaturated fats from foods like olive oil that help keep cholesterol in check.

The Mediterranean diet allows for moderate amounts of dairy, but most people should limit their consumption of high-fat cheese. Opt for low-fat milk and yogurt products instead, and opt for whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur wheat barley or couscous when selecting bread products.

Eat More Whole Grains

The Mediterranean Diet is a plant-based diet with moderate intakes of seafood, poultry and dairy, along with healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts. Highly-processed foods should be limited while sugar should be avoided entirely.

The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) can help manage weight, regulate blood sugars and support heart health. Furthermore, it fosters gut health while decreasing inflammation.

Opt for whole grains over refined ones such as white bread, pasta and rice; try quinoa, barley, brown rice and oats as alternatives. Also swap out butter for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which can be drizzled over salads, vegetables and whole-grain pasta as it contains antioxidants, MUFAs and omega-3 fatty acids that reduce “bad” cholesterol.

Drink More Water

Drink at least five cups of water daily and add lemon, orange or strawberry juices or berries for extra flavor!

Try to limit your sugary beverages, saving cakes and pastries for special events. Cooking together with friends and shopping at farmers’ markets are both great ways of making a Mediterranean diet more accessible and cost-effective.

The Mediterranean Diet offers many health advantages, from “good” monounsaturated fats found in nuts and olive oil to Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish; fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains – each working together to lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses.

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