The standard Western diet is high in animal fats, sugar, processed foods, sodium and preservatives while low in fruit and vegetables. Research has shown this food pattern is partially responsible for triggering many chronic diseases. Research has also shown the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of many diseases. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
This diet is less like a diet and more like a lifestyle for those living in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean diet is one your whole family can follow for good health as you move toward living a healthier and more active lifestyle. Below are key components and principles.
- Eat primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
- Residents of Greece average six or more servings a day of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables.
- Grains are typically whole grains and usually contain no unhealthy trans fats
- Replace butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado
- Nuts are another part of this diet, and although high in fat, it is mostly heart-healthy unsaturated fats. However, because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large quantities ? generally no more than a handful a day. Also, avoid candied, honey-roasted or heavily salted nuts.
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eat fish 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.
Sample Meal Ideas
Breakfast: Oatmeal cooked in unsweetened almond milk and topped with fruit and nuts
Lunch: Vegetable Bean Soup and side salad with an olive oil vinaigrette
Dinner: Grilled Salmon, steamed vegetables and roasted sweet potatoes
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Vegetables and hummus (bean dip)
- Olives or handful of nuts
- Whole grain toast spread with avocado and topped with tomatoes and black pepper