These are the main components of the Mediterranean diet:
· Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats
· Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
· Moderate portions of dairy products
· Limited intake of red meat
The Mayo Clinic also emphasizes the other important elements of the Mediterranean diet like sharing meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine and being physically active. Remember that meals in the Mediterranean diet are plant-based, not meat-based, and that healthy fats from fatty fish and olive oil are important. In fact, olive oil provides monosaturated fat, which unlike saturated or trans fats, has been found to lower cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Fatty fish like sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are rich in Omega-3s and also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and minimize the risk of stroke and heart failure. A healthy diet can also improve your ability to think, remember and process information as you age (American Heart Association).
Now that you know how beneficial this diet can be for your long term health, it’s time to start eating the Mediterranean way! If you struggle to remember what foods don’t fit in the Mediterranean diet, just keep in mind that you need to limit added sugars, sodium, highly processed foods, and unhealthy fats. Also, avoid foods that offer a lot of calories but little nutritional value. To limit salt intake, you can spice up your meals with fresh herbs (check out our helpful guide to cooking with herbs: https://pin.it/2I6hBnN). It’s all about eating whole and fresh foods. To get you started, we’ve included an easy dinner recipe at the end of this blog post, along with a grocery shopping list and weekly meal planner. Don’t wait – use these tools to start incorporating the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle. Your heart will thank you!
Healthy Dinner Recipe: https://www.acouplecooks.com/lemon-dill-salmon/
With the collaboration of Ilderina Kekic, Office Specialist, University of Florida IFAS Extension
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