Healthy Eating for Weight Loss and Life: The Mediterranean Diet
Interested in eating right, but enjoy delicious food, too? Then the heart-healthy Mediterranean ‘diet’ is an ideal choice.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
It’s an approach to eating that incorporates the basics of healthy eating, plus allows for goodies like nuts, flavorful olive oil and red wine - hallmarks of traditional Mediterranean cooking.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. Studies also point to a reduced risk of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as well.
The Mediterranean approach emphasizes:
Of equal importance is your lifestyle - being physical active and enjoying meals with family, friends and loved ones.
- Plenty of fresh and whole plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Using healthy fats, such as olive oil, in place of butter
- Reducing the use of salt and using herbs and spices to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least two times a week
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
Tips on Making It Mediterranean
Here are some easy-to-do things to transition to a heart-healthy lifestyle:
- Enjoy nuts and seeds - keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand
- Pass on the butter - drizzle olive oil on vegetables, greens and bread for a flavorful alternative to butter and margarine
- Skip the processed food - opt for fresh, whole foods over pre-packaged and processed foods
- Eat fish - grill, bake or broil fish for great taste and enjoy fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon and herring for light snacks
- Choose low-fat dairy - Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-cheese for your diary choices and limit higher fat dairy products like ice cream, cheese and whole or 2 percent milk
- Limit your red meat - Most days of the month, choose protein from fish or poultry and save your filet mignon and other favorite red meats for a special treat two or three times a month