You may have heard some of the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, but how do you implement it into your own lifestyle?
It’s easy, if you know what to add, and why. To begin with, a Mediterranean diet is packed with health benefits. That’s because it’s heavily influenced by things like fresh fruits and veggies, fish, nuts, and olive oil. A diet rich in these ingredients likely means you’re consuming fewer processed foods, refined breads, and red meat. This can help with things like stroke and heart disease. It’s also thought a Mediterranean diet can help improve your blood vessel health, your blood sugar levels, and your cholesterol, which can help with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In addition, this type of diet may help with Parkinson’s disease, protect against type 2 diabetes, help maintain a healthy weight, and possibly even increase longevity.
So, now that you know the benefits, how do you make the change? Start by loading up on fresh vegetables and try seafood at least twice a week. If you love pizza, go for a thin crust. Top your pizza with veggies and fresh peppers of varying degrees from the hot pepper scale, instead of pepperoni or sausage. You could also try cooking vegetarian meals at least once a week or cut back on dairy products and use skim or one-percent milk instead.
You may also want to choose whole grains rather than pasta, rice, and refined breads, or cut out the butter and replace it with olive oil.
Instead of heavy desserts, grab some fresh fruit. Good fats, such as avocados, olives, nuts, extra-virgin olive oil and sunflower seeds are healthy choices, too. One last suggestion is to eat your Mediterranean meal with others, rather than alone, to prevent overeating. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to cook well than it is to serve up processed or packaged dishes.