Healthy Eating: The Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

These days it may be hard to choose which type of diet you want to try.  The Mediterranean diet is great if you enjoy your carbohydrates, but it is more difficult if red meat is a big staple for you.

For starters, The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. On the Mediterranean diet, the majority of your meals should be from plant foods. That means that you should eat ten servings a day of veggies and fruits. With the Mediterranean diet you should change to whole grain breads and cereals and try to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products. The Mediterranean diet allows great snacks such as nuts. If you love nuts and peanut butter you will like this. You can eat almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts, but with peanut butter, choose natural peanut butter. Tahini makes a nice dip or spread for bread.

Olive or canola oil should substitute butter or margarine. If you have not tried it olive oil is great on bread. I like balsamic vinegar as well. Spices and herbs are recommended as an alternative to salt. Fish should be eaten one to two times a week, but avoid fried fish. Poultry and fish should be substituted for red meat. If you eat red meat it should be lean and the portion size should be about the size of a deck of cards. This is going to be hard for some as you should avoid bacon, yes, I said bacon. In the states we love our bacon. Also try to avoid sausage and other high fat meats.

Another group of foods you can enjoy are low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, fat-free yogurt or low-fat cheese. You can still have a glass of wine with dinner if you drink alcohol, but if not purple grape juice is a good alternative. It’s up to you. For many people the Mediterranean diet is very helpful as it reduces the risk of heart disease. The Mediterranean has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is the LDL level which is the “bad Cholesterol” which is more likely to build up in your arteries. The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced cancer incidence, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. There are plenty of reasons to try the Mediterranean diet. Do you think you will choose to try it?

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