Enjoy these 5 tips for the Mediterranean Diet, which has become one of the most popular diet choices in the world even though it is more a healthy way of eating than a diet as we usually define the word. It should be around for a very long time.
Unlike other fad diets, it is not new nor particularly unique. In fact, these five simple tips will help you stay on track if you choose to implement it.
This incredibly healthy way of eating comes to us from the Mediterranean Sea Region where people have been preparing and eating this way for centuries. If you were to ask them about the “diet” they would not see why it is such a big deal – it is just the way they have always eaten.
Yet, to Americans and the rest of the world who have developed a steady diet of convenience foods made up of processed, additive-filled meals and junk food, the health benefits of this diet can seem dramatic and almost unbelievable.
The diet gained its recent and massive popularity after the results of a five-year Spanish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed it slowed aging, reduced bad cholesterol, and prevented the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s, stroke, cardiovascular disease, etc.
Hopefully, you are already convinced that the diet (way of eating) is awesome and have started or will soon start this journey to better health.
If so, the following tips should be followed in order to receive the greatest benefits possible from the Mediterranean diet.
5 Tips for the Mediterranean Diet
- Eat lots of fresh fruit daily
Since fruits grow abundantly in the Mediterranean’s warm climate, the people love their fruit and eat several servings every day. Doing so, not only diminishes sugar cravings, they are a good source of fiber, and provide many important nutrients for your body.
There are many fresh fruits available on the market – organic is the best choice, if available. Eat your favorites and try new ones – they are all good for you. Kiwi, pomegranate, figs, berries, apricots, apples and bananas are all popular fruits that are commonly found in the Mediterranean area.
- Use olive oil as your staple fat
This is a fundamental necessity of the Mediterranean Diet. Almost all of your cooking should be done with extra virgin olive oil, which is extremely beneficial to the body. It is known as liquid gold because it is full of anti-oxidant properties and monounsaturated fatty acids.
A study published in the journal Pharmacological Research found:
People who regularly consume olive oil are much less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels). They also found that regular olive oil intake helps reduce inflammation, endothelial dysfunction (problems with the inner linings of blood vessels), thrombosis and carbohydrate metabolism.
A study published in the scientific journal, Diabetes Care, showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of Type II Diabetes by almost 50% compared to a low-fat diet.
As you can see, olive oil is highly beneficial to your health. Use it to roast or lightly sauté your vegetables, sprinkled over a fresh salad, or anytime to enhance the taste and flavor of your cooking.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils must be avoided completely. They are one of the main causes of obesity in the world. These are dangerous to your health and are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids when the body needs is Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and olive oil.
- Eat lots of green leafy vegetable
These should be part of your diet even if you are not on the Mediterranean Diet. They are rich in nutrients and low in calories, which makes them ideal for weight management.
They are also rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, while being low in fat and high in fiber – all of which helps reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Eat fish often.
Any kind of fish will do – tilapia, cod, grouper, salmon, tuna, etc. Along with olive oil, fish oil is also an important component in the Mediterranean diet. Always buy fresh fish when you can and freeze extra for later use.
You can also buy frozen fish. Fish that you buy from the grocer’s freezer is typically quick frozen as soon as it is caught, which means that you are getting all the nutrients you would if you ate the same piece of fish fresh. Buying frozen fish also generally offers a greater variety.
Keep your intake of other meats such as chicken, beef and pork low. Lower consumption of saturated fat probably accounts for the much lower risk of heart disease associated with this diet.
- Drink a glass of red wine every night after dinner
You do not have to do this, but if you enjoy wine, we recommend it. It is a key component in the Mediterranean diet. Notice it says “a glass of wine” meaning ONE glass. (No more than one glass/day for women and two glasses/day for men.) This does not give you an excuse to drink a bottle or more of wine each. day.
Too many people are in the habit of guzzling down beers or knocking down shots of tequila or Sambuca which is very unhealthy. We are also not recommending other types of alcohol such as bourbon, vodka, etc. that are poisonous to the body
It is believed that red wine contains antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol that have heart-healthy benefits. Enjoy your evening glass of wine – your heart will thank you.
Following the five tips above for the Mediterranean Diet will improve your health. The Mediterranean Diet is the easiest diet in the world to follow – it is not strange or restrictive. With only a few small changes, you should be able easily adapt your eating habits and enjoy all the delicious foods.
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