The Mediterranean Diet
If you’re looking for an eating plan that focuses on flavorful and fresh foods that work to keep the heart healthy and maintain vitality of the mind and body – look no further than the Mediterranean Diet.
This year, the Mediterranean diet was brought into the public spotlight when the New York Times published stories highlighting the positive benefits the diet had on heart and brain health, and its ability to ward off heart attacks and stroke. The findings of multiple diet studies revealed that heart disease and heart attacks were warded off more effectively when following a Mediterranean diet vs a low-fat diet. Studies also found that subjects who adhered to the Mediterranean diet had a decreased likelihood of becoming cognitively impaired.
The Mediterranean diet is truly flexible and fun – you can eat all the chocolate you want! It emphasizes moderation of certain food groups while encouraging unlimited consumption of others.
Unlimited: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains (mostly whole), Olive oil, Beans, Nuts, Legumes
The base of every meal. These foods are the most vital part in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Fruits are high in antioxidants that help build our immunity and work to prevent disease. Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals that keep you sharp and energized. Whole grains are the perfect source of complex carbohydrates and help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Olive oil contains the healthy fatty acids you need in your diet and helps to reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar. Beans and Legumes for protein and essential minerals. Nuts are important because they provide unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and have vitamin E for clear arteries and to make your skin shine!
Unlimited: Fish and Seafood
Consume these fresh fish and seafood at least twice a week. Fish and seafood is the ultimate source of omega-3 fatty acids – essential for brain and heart health. Eating these foods are also linked with reduce risk of heart disease, boosting the immune system, and can improve arthritis symptoms.
Moderate Portions: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt
These foods should be consumed in moderation, they provide less benefits to your health and aren’t as important in the Mediterranean diet. Try greek yogurt sprinkled with dried fruits and granola. Greek yogurt is high in calcium and immune-supporting probiotics and is an excellent source of protein.
Sparingly: Meats and sweets
Try to limit yourself to two or less servings of pork and red meats during the weak as these foods are the biggest dietary contributors to high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer. Sweets like cookies or ice cream should be limited to no more than a small portion a day. Ration your sweets to last between meals and for the most stressful part of the day as satisfying reward.
January 2, 2014