The Mediterranean Diet has a reputation for being one of the world’s healthiest. And with good right: Studies have shown that sticking to Mediterranean eating patterns—lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil and little red meat—offers a wealth of health benefits, from keeping weight in check to managing blood glucose levels. Science also suggests that the diet reduces inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and may even ward off depression and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are 12 simple ways to eat like a Mediterranean:
Replace butter with olive or canola oil whenever possible.
Snack on nuts, seeds or fruit instead of processed foods.
Include a generous leafy green salad with most dinners.
Help yourself to whole-grain bread, pasta, rice and other grains.
Fix at least a couple of vegetarian meals every week.
Add a dish or two that contain legumes (beans and lentils) to your weekly menu.
Have fish (not breaded and deep-fried) at least twice a week.
If you eat meat, favor poultry.
Eat red meat only occasionally, and in small servings.
If you drink, have no more than a glass or two with a meal.
Enjoy fruit for dessert.
Set aside enough time to savor every bite.
Live like a Mediterranean for Better Health:
Recent studies have suggested that the Mediterranean way of life—not much alcohol, no smoking, plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight—may have just as much to do with these Mediterranean-dwellers’ health as what they eat. All are great things to incorporate into your lifestyle.
This was adapted from content written by Peter Jaret for EatingWell.