Interest in the Mediterranean Diet began in the 1960s with the observation that heart disease claimed fewer lives in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea than in the US and Northern Europe.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization recognize the Mediterranean diet as both a nutritious eating pattern, and a way to prevent and manage chronic disease – pecifically cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.
The Mediterranean diet promotes foods traditionally eaten in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece and Italy. While there is no one set Mediterranean eating pattern, the main components include daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats, weekly intake of fish, poultry, eggs and beans, moderate consumption of dairy and limited intake of red meat.
Tips for Adopting a Mediterranean Eating Pattern:
1. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption. Think more plant-based over meat-based meals.
2. Select whole grains and experiment with varieties like quinoa, bulgar and farro.
3. Use vegetable-based healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil and flaxseed oil.
4. Aim for two servings of grilled or baked fish each week.
5. Cut back on red meat. Make swaps with seafood, poultry or beans.
6. Eat some dairy like high-protein Greek yogurt.
7. Season with spices and herbs instead of salt.
8. Enjoy an occasional glass of red wine (+ antioxidant benefits) with dinner.