Mediterranean diets claim that they’ll keep you fit and healthy, and they’ve got centuries of evidence backing them up.
Whether you prefer Spanish or Greek cuisine, this is one approach to eating healthy for life. Read on to discover the major benefits of eating like a Mediterranean, ways to get started, and tips for incorporating more of their healthy lifestyle into your life.
Major Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
1. Lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Like any healthy living plan, a Mediterranean diet helps fights metabolic syndrome. You’ll lower your odds for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious conditions.
2. Improve your emotional well being. Civilizations around the Mediterranean basin have helped teach the world the importance of eating together to maintain social connections. They also demonstrate a constructive balance of physical activity and rest.
3. Enjoy delicious foods. What’s better than a diet that lets you indulge in a wide variety of your favorite foods? Dine on grilled fish year round. Sip lentil soup on a winter afternoon and serve hummus for an easy summer lunch.
How to Eat Like a Mediterranean
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
2. Choose healthy fats.
Get most of your calories from fresh produce. Aim for at least five to six servings a day. You’ll get the vital nutrients you need and the fiber will help you feel full while eating less.
Stock up on extra virgin olive oil and use it instead of butter or margarine. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are better for your heart than saturated fats.
3. Substitute fish for meat.
4. Stick to low fat dairy products.
Fish is a great source for lean protein and it really is brain food. The high levels of vitamin D in oily fish like salmon and tuna improve cognitive functions. Serve fish at least twice a week.
Liven up your old breakfast cereal by mixing it into low fat Greek yogurt. Buy skim or low fat milk. Careful portion control lets you enjoy cheese responsibly.
5. Snack on nuts.
Ditch the processed cookies and crackers in favor of nuts and legumes. They’ll keep you satisfied and make it easier to resist donuts.
Other Lifestyle Practices
1. Adjust your grocery budget. A Mediterranean diet can get a little pricey. Shop for seasonal produce bargains. Start your own vegetable garden. Master home recipes for hummus.
2. Schedule family dinners. Eat together as a family as often as possible. You’ll model good eating habits for your kids and make it easier for them to talk with you. Studies show they’ll even bring home better grades.
3. Sit down to eat. Whenever possible, pull up a chair to eat. You’ll be more conscious of the calories you consume and you’ll digest your food better.
4. Drink in moderation. It’s okay to be a teetotaler. On the other hand, small quantities of red wine taken with meals may be good for your heart. The general rule is no more than one glass a day for women and two for men.
5. Exercise regularly. Pick activities you like and incorporate them into your daily routine. A 30 minute walk each day with a few weekly sessions of strength training and stretching may be all you need. Increase that to 60 minutes if you want to lose weight.
6. Manage stress. Find relaxation techniques that are comfortable for you. Listen to instrumental music, talk to your dog, or meditate.
A Mediterranean diet can help you lose weight and stay in top shape. In addition to all that nutritious and flavorful food, by adopting some traits of the Mediterranean lifestyle, you’ll enjoy the company of your loved ones and strike a healthy balance between work and leisure activities.