Whether you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, trying to eat more healthfully in general or just curiously looking at diet trends, the Mediterranean diet may appeal to you. For four years in a row, U.S. News and World Report has named the Mediterranean diet the best overall diet, based on an expert panel of nutritionists. So what is the Mediterranean diet? Read on to find out more about this selection of foods, and get recipes to try it out for yourself.
The Mediterranean diet refers to the way people ate in the Mediterranean region, like Greece, Spain and Italy, during the 1960s. Researchers at that time found that people in the region experienced fewer deaths from coronary heart disease than people in the U.S. and northern Europe. Since the ‘60s, researchers have also found that the Mediterranean diet is associated with fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In fact, today the American Heart Association recommends a Mediterranean-style diet for a healthy dietary pattern.
To follow the Mediterranean diet, you will consider the following factors:
The Mediterranean diet also considers a lower-stress way of life, including enjoying meals with other people, drinking a glass of red wine on occasion and participating in a physically active lifestyle. Always drink responsibly.
So what does the Mediterranean diet look like in practice? Most importantly, the above guidelines are the only guidelines; that is, no two people’s diets will look the same as people have different preferences within the categories of fruit, veggies, fish, poultry, etc. Additionally, each country around the Mediterranean Sea has different cuisines. With that being said, keep fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats at the top of your priorities, and fill in the gaps here and there with the other items.
Consider some of the following examples of Mediterranean foods when stocking your fridge and pantry:
Check out some of these recipes that incorporate the delicious foods of the Mediterranean:
Because you want to avoid consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, go for drinking lots of water. Coffee and tea are acceptable as well. In moderation, enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. Always drink responsibly.
No matter what approach you take to your diet, relish in the spice of life! Spend time with your loved ones and take advantage of treats in moderation while you enjoy lots of wholesome foods on the Mediterranean diet.