This month, it’s National Physical Fitness Month. And a big part of getting and staying fit is determined by your diet. The secret to a successful diet is finding a healthy meal plan and making an eating habit that you can stick to every day. That’s where the Mediterranean Diet comes in. (By the way, it also happens to be International Mediterranean Diet Month so when you adopt this diet this month, you’re celebrating two good things at the same time.)
Why the Mediterranean Diet? For over a century, scientists have intensely studied the eating patterns characteristic of the Mediterranean Diet. After examining all the data, it was clear that people eating fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, and ﬁsh as the basis of their daily meals were healthiest. From this study came the understanding that certain Mediterranean-eating patterns were clearly connected with good health.
In subsequent years, hundreds if not thousands of additional studies have added to the body of scientiﬁc evidence supporting the “gold standard” status of traditional Mediterranean Diet eating patterns. These studies show following this dietary practice may:
- Lengthen your life
- Improve Brain Function
- Defend you from chronic diseases
- Fight certain cancers
- Lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and elevated “bad” cholesterol levels
- Protect you from diabetes
- Aid your weight loss and management eﬀorts
- Keep away depression
- Safeguard you from Alzheimer’s disease
- Ward oﬀ Parkinson’s disease
- Improve rheumatoid arthritis
- Improve eye health
- Reduce risk of dental disease
- Help you breathe better
- Lead to healthier babies
- Lead to improved fertility
Practicing the Mediterranean way of eating shouldn’t be difficult. It simply requires making some simple but profound changes in the way you eat. According to the website, Oldways, here’s what you can do.
- Eat lots of vegetables. From a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and crumbled feta cheese to stunning salads, garlicky greens, fragrant soups and stews, healthy pizzas, or oven-roasted medleys, vegetables are vitally important to the fresh tastes and delicious ﬂavors of the Med Diet.
- Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, have smaller amounts – small strips of sirloin in a vegetable sauté, or a dish of pasta garnished with diced prosciutto.
- Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt, and try smaller amounts of a variety of cheeses.
- Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and shellﬁsh including mussels, oysters, and clams have similar beneﬁts for brain and heart health.
- Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. Build meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables, and heighten the ﬂavor with fragrant herbs and spices. Down the road, try two nights per week.
- Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals, especially extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunﬂower seeds, olives, and avocados.
- Switch to whole grains. Whole grains are naturally rich in many important nutrients; their fuller, nuttier taste and extra ﬁber keep you satisﬁed for hours. Cook traditional Mediterranean grains like bulgur, barley, farro and brown, black or red rice, and favor products made with whole grain ﬂour.
- For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Choose from a wide range of delicious fresh fruits — from fresh ﬁgs and oranges to pomegranates, grapes and apples. Instead of daily ice cream or cookies, save sweets for a special treat or celebration.
The more you know about your health, the better you’ll feel. At Good Days, we’re dedicated to helping people achieve a healthier and happier life. Helping people live good days, every day. That’s Good Days.
Source: Mediterranean Diet