Many of us are striving to find the perfect meal plan to better our health and slim down the waistline. Today I want to introduce the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet is based, as the name suggests, around foods that countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea consume.
This diet has been proven to have numerous health benefits including reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even premature death over the traditional American diet. In the PREDIMED study, it was found that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease by 31% when compared to a low-fat diet. The study also revealed that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 52%.
With such great health benefits, one might wonder, what magic foods would help the body this much. This diet is made of high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish, and extra virgin olive oil, moderate consumption of poultry & dairy, and low/no consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks/foods, processed foods, and refined grains/oils. Below are examples of each food group:
1. Vegetables- Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Tomato, Onions, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato
2. Fruits- Apples, Oranges, Pears, Grapes, Dates, Melons, Peaches
3. Nuts/Seeds- Walnuts, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Hazelnuts,
4. Legumes- Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas,
5. Whole Grains- Whole oats, Rice, Whole Wheat breads/pasta
6. Fish- Salmon, Tuna, Trout, Shrimp, Clam, Crab, Sardines, Mackerel
7. Poultry- Chicken, turkey,
8. Dairy- Eggs, Milk, Cheese, yogurt.