Heart-Healthy and Delicious: The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet gets its name from the Mediterranean region where observational studies found that people living in the area had longer life spans and fewer chronic diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic's in-depth look at the Mediterranean diet, research involving over 1.5 million followers of the Mediterranean diet has indicated a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer and lower rates of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
Mediterranean Diet Basics
Following the Mediterranean diet is relatively simple. It's not so much about counting calories as it is about making the same healthy choices commonly made in Greece and other Mediterranean countries. Hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet include:
- An emphasis on plant-based foods such as fruits and veggies, olives, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
- Using extra virgin olive oil in place of butter. Instead of unhealthy fats and cholesterol, extra virgin olive oil is loaded with healthy fat and the "good" type of cholesterol.
- An emphasis on eating fish and poultry as well as minimal red meat consumption. Red meat is generally limited to once or twice per month.
- A reliance on herbs and spices for seasoning rather than salt.
- Moderate consumption of red wine if desired.
Fruits, nuts, honey, olives, veggies, seafood, poultry, whole grains, herbs, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine - what's not to love about the Mediterranean diet? Not only are these foods delicious and natural, they've been linked to improved health!
Mediterranean Diet Tips
If the Mediterranean diet sounds like a smart eating choice, you're right, it is. To make it easier to follow, use the food pyramid analogy with red meats and sweets at the top of the pyramid (i.e., eat these rarely) followed by poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt which can be eaten in moderate portions either daily or weekly. Fish and seafood make up the next level of the pyramid and should be eaten at least twice per week. At the base of the pyramid are the foods you should eat at every meal including: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, seeds, nuts, legumes, beans, and herbs and spices.
Though nuts and extra virgin olive oil are high in fat, they're high in the good type of fat. However, they are also high in calories. Because of this, moderation is key. Eat a handful of nuts each day and sauté your veggies in extra virgin olive oil without guilt, but be careful not to overindulge.
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious, heart healthy diet. Enjoy the taste of the Mediterranean by buying high quality extra virgin olive oil, Greek olives, honey, nuts, and other Mediterranean diet staples from Recipiada.com.