Adopting the Mediterranean Diet has shown to be effective in implementing a highly nutritious and beneficial diet. Don’t let the word “diet” mislead or intimidate you. The Mediterranean Diet is not restrictive of any sorts, but rather consuming a well rounded and various assortments of healthful foods. It primarily consists of low levels of processed foods and saturated fats, and increased healthy fats and whole foods. By doing so, those practicing the Mediterranean Diet have shown to present reduced risks of heart disease, strokes, Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and Parkinson’s.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes:
· Plant-based foods
· Whole grains
· Good fats
Plant-based Foods: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Individuals should consume two or greater servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner, one of which served raw. One or two servings of fruit is recommended at each meal, and plant based proteins, such as beans and legumes, are highly recommended for 2-3 days of the week.
Whole Grains: Individuals should receive one to two servings of whole grains per meal including forms of bread, cereals, pasta, rice, couscous, etc.
Good Fats: The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes unsaturated fats to decrease levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are considered the bad fats and cholesterol. Fish is highlighted as a primary source of protein throughout the week, encouraged at least twice a week, while consuming lean red meat at most twice a week and poultry the rest. Fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, tuna, and salmon, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and good fats. Olive oil is the primary source of fat within the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and is highly recommended as an alternative fat source in cooking as opposed to butter or margarine. The high levels of monounsaturated fats olive oil is comprised of assists in reducing the levels of LDL within the body. In addition to consuming good fats, low and reduced fat products are also recommended to maintain the amount of good fats being utilized.
Socializing: The Mediterranean Diet promotes eating meals with friends and family as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle. A glass of red wine consumed with dinner is a common tradition to promote health and happiness, with a serving size of at most 5oz.
Example Meal Plan:
A cup of Greek yogurt with sliced fruits and a handful of nuts
Whole grain sandwich with grilled chicken, avocado, and Dijon mustard with a side green salad
Broiled salmon with brown rice and grilled vegetables
Kennedy Z. Mediterranean Diet. 2nd ed.
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