What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

February 14, 2011

Diets & Nutrition

If you’re looking for a heart-friendly eating plan, you won’t go wrong with the Mediterranean Diet. This eating plan incorporates the basics of healthy eating– whole grains, fruits, beans and vegetables– but with a nicely added twist. Inclusion of olive oil and wine is encouraged in the menu. All these components were inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The Mediterranean Diet puts much emphasis on food patterns typical in Greece, with olive oil as the principal source of fat. Total fat in this diet makes up 25 to 35% of calories, with saturated fat at 8% or less.

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 Key Components of The Mediterranean Diet

  • Eat veggies and fruits, make the switch to whole grains– An abundance and varie of plant foods should make up majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed, and whole-grain breads, rice and pasta products should be increased in the diet.
  • Go nuts with nuts– Keep almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios on hand for quick snacks.
  • No butter, please– Substitute olive or canola oil for the usual butter or margarine.
  • Spice up your life– Season your meals with herbs and spices, not only do they add a zing to your food, they are also rich in health-promoting substances and antioxidants.
  • Go fish– Eat fish once or twice a week. Grill ’em, but never fry, unless it’s in a small amount of canola oil.
  • Rein in the red meat- Substitute fish and poultry for red meat, and when you do eat meat, make sure it’s lean and smll in serving size.
  • Raise your glass– a glass of wine at dinner has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. But this means no more than 10 ounces for men and 5 ounces for women.

The Skinny

The Mediterranean Diet is not entirely a weight loss diet, rather, it’s a health plan that assists the body to reach and maintain it’s optimal weight. The meal plan is for six weeks, but you can stay on this way of eating for life. 

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