So, you’ve probably heard all the hype about The Mediterranean Diet; America’s newest diet trend. What makes this diet so beneficial? Research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that “the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease”. Additionally, an analysis of nearly 1.5 million healthy adults, following the Mediterranean diet, showed not only a reduced risk of death from heart disease or cancer, but also a decreased incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re looking to experience the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, here are some quick tips for you.
1. Eat more vegetables and fruits
Make sure that plant based foods make up most of your diet. Try to avoid processed vegetables and instead opt for fresh fruits and vegetables if possible. A great idea is to keep fresh fruits on-hand to snack on (e.g sliced apples, carrots, etc.)
2. Substitute olive oil for butter
Embrace healthier fats as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats (hydrogenated oils). Olives are a staple to the Mediterranean landscape and also a common crop. It’s no surprise they are seen heavily in the diet. Add some fresh garlic or onions for flavor.
3. Ditch the salt
Instead of using salt, add herbs and spices to recipes.
4. Go lean with meat
Make sure to use fish and chicken as your primary sources of animal protein. Ideal preparations will be grilled, baked or broiled. If you’re looking for red meat, try to avoid processed meats and limit red meat to no more than twice a month.
5. Be rich; in fiber
Increase your intake of fiber by adding nuts and seeds into your diet. Keep almonds and walnuts on hand for a quick healthy snack. Looking for quick additive? Try all natural peanut butter.
6. It’s wine time
That’s right, 5 ounces of red wine has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in some studies. But be careful, no more than 5 ounces for women and 10 ounces for men. Consuming more than these amounts has been shown to increase the risk of health problems, including certain cancers.
Feel like the Mediterranean diet is for you? Remember to also stay physically active. As with any diet, consult your physician to discuss possible side effects and health complications.