It’s colorful, it’s delicious and it may help support your cardiovascular health. The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the vibrant and hearty lifestyle of the Mediterranean region and has been touted as an easy and fulfilling way to eat healthy. But what exactly does it entail?
One of the biggest principles of the Mediterranean diet is the idea of consuming “good” fats, rather than unhealthy saturated fats or hydrogenated oils. These fats come from flavorful sources such as olive oil, nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.), fish and canola oil. A diet that includes moderate levels of healthy fats can help promote overall health, including a normal inflammatory response and healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels already within the normal range.
The typical Mediterranean diet also includes a bounty of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal, including grapes, avocados, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, olives, pomegranates, eggplant and carrots, to name a few. These are included in cooked dishes, fresh salads and even snacks.
Whole-grain breads and pastas are consumed””but without the addition of butter or other oils laden with saturated fat. Red wine, rich in antioxidant polyphenols, is also a customary addition to evening meals. Other common menu items of the Mediterranean diet include seafood, cheese, yogurt, beans and legumes. Red meat and sweets are eaten sparingly.
In addition to food choices, the Mediterranean diet also includes social and physical lifestyle beliefs such as eating meals together and enjoying regular social interaction and exercise. Incorporating the Mediterranean diet into your daily life is a delicious and simple way to engage in a variety of healthy habits to support overall health.