The Mediterranean Diet : the world's healthiest diet.
The Mediterranean diet began being studied since 1960's, when medical researchers observed that people from the Mediterranean area had less incidence of cardiovascular disease, especially when compared to the U.S. and Northern Europe. After literally thousands of studies to date, accumulated evidence has pointed to its benefits not only for heart health but also brain health, for reducing levels of inflammation, stroke and Alzheimer's disease
The Mediterranean Diet consists of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olives oils, with less meats and dairy compared to the Western diet. Fish is the main source of animal protein.
Here's a general guideline to incorporate the "Mediterranean Way" into your life:
EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Aim for 7-10 servings a day of both fruits and vegetables. If you look at your own diet right now - are you getting this much? If not, start incorporating more in each meal and swap empty snacks for fruits or veggies with hummus, for example.
2. EAT WHOLE GRAINS
Opt for whole grains, sprouted wheat, brown rice, legumes, rolled oats. Try other whole grains such as bulgur and farro.
3. USE HEALTHY FATS
Olive oil is the king of the Mediterranean diet. It can be used for cooking or instead of butter. In the U.S. we can use avocado and avocado oil as well, which has the same beneficial properties as olive oil. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of healthy fats and can be included as healthy snacks or add to salads.
4. EAT MORE SEAFOOD
Eat fish at least twice a week. Tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout, herring, tilapia, shrimp, etc. Choose sustainable sources. For the best in-season fish go to www.seafoodwatch.org to find out the best and most sustainable choices in your area.
5. READUCE RED MEAT
Research has found that red meats, especially highly processed ones are detrimental to health and longevity. Along with fish and seafood, you can choose beans and legumes or poultry or good sources of protein.
6. ENJOY DAIRY, IN MODERATION
Greek or plain yogurt, goat cheese and small amounts of cheese are ok. Enjoy them as part of a variety of foods.
7. ADD SPICES AND SEASONINGS
Herbs and spices not only boost flavors but also are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Use them often, fresh or dried.
The Mediterranean diet is not only healthy but can be a delicious way to eat and enjoy foods that are beneficial for wellness and longevity. If you have to pick one diet for life, this is the one.