Mediterranean diet incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, France, Turkey, Greece and Spain.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
- Achieve Weight Loss and Weight Management Goals
- Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
- Fight Certain Cancers and Chronic Diseases
- Reduce Asthma
- Avoid Diabetes
- Resist Depression
- Nurture Healthier Babies
- Ward off Parkinson’s Disease
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends. Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes; Fruits, vegetables and grains. For example, residents of Greece average six or more servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine, which contains saturated or trans fats. Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.
Here’s how to follow this visual guide to the Med Diet
- Look for ways to be more active. Good food alone isn’t enough to live a healthy life.
- Cooking and enjoying the pleasures of the table with family and friends contribute to good health.
- Every day, eat mostly whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts and peanuts, and healthy fats such as those found in olive oil. These are the core Med Diet foods you will shop for, prepare, and eat most often.
- At least twice a week, eat fish and seafood, the best sources of heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s.
- Yogurt, cheese, poultry, and eggs are also central to the Mediterranean Diet, in reasonable portion sizes.
- Red meat and sweets, at the top of the pyramid, are “sometimes” foods to eat less often.
- Wine and water are the typical beverages of the Med Diet. If you drink wine, enjoy moderate amounts: up to one glass per day for women, two for men. And drink water throughout the day.