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3 Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet Foods

Guidelines for going Mediterranean

One of the oft-cited advantages of the Mediterranean diet is that it’s relatively easy to follow.

You don’t have to forgo any major food groups—even sweets. And, because you’re mainly noshing on fiber-rich foods, there’s no starvation necessary.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when attempting to adopt a Mediterranean-style diet:

Go fishing for Omega-3s: A central tenant of the Mediterranean Diet is to avoid all but the leanest meats (sirloin, beef round), and even those should be consumed infrequently. Fish is the preferred supplier of animal protein. According to Weiss, the rule of thumb is to eat fish twice a week. She suggests tucking into tuna or salmon—both of which are good sources of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

Get friendly with (good) fats: The word, ‘fat’ has become taboo in modern society, but there is a crucial difference between “good” fats and “bad” fats. According to Weiss, monounsaturated fats (found in avocados, almond, olives, salmon and tuna) can contribute to heart health by regulating blood pressure and promoting properly functioning blood vessels.

Know your reds: The Mediterranean Diet allows for moderate consumption of red wine which, research indicates may increase longevity, improve immune and digestive system functioning and help maintain healthy levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Fill up on fiber: Fiber-rich foods such as, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains should be a staple in everyone’s diet—regardless of age.

Spice things up: The right spices can make a dish delicious without excess salt and fat. Basil, Cardamom, Cumin, Garlic, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Saffron and Sage are all used in traditional Mediterranean dishes.

Common Mediterranean diet foods:

Arugula
Baba Ghannouge
Couscous
Falafel
Feta cheese
Hummus
Olives
Paella
Pesto
Pita bread
Red wine
Salmon
Spinach
Tahini
Whole grains

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, , , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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88 comments

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7:31AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

lovely read, the wife and I are thinking of going to this diet, because it suits both our personal tastes.

9:02PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Great article and very true also. Thanks!

6:49AM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Hi, great report! There are many interesting studies showing the benefits of the Mediterranean diet on weight control, prevention of breast cancer, strokes, heart attacks, anaemia and others. The Mediterranean diet besides being varied and balanced nutritional intake is rich in fiber, unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. More than a diet is said to be a way of life, which must be combined with moderate exercise daily.
I invite you to learn more about the Mediterranean diet reading our last post: http://goo.gl/tROxL

Regards,

Photorecipe

9:01PM PST on Feb 6, 2013

ty

2:42PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

I remember an English teacher bringing figs and some other Mediterranean stuff.

5:27AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

This suits me and it is really great lifestyle!

4:11AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

I love this diet but does anyone know how to cook tapeworm? Maybe I read it wrong ?

2:35AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

I completely advocate this diet. Especially the part of consuming olive oil. Olive oil has almost single handedly brought my shoulder arthritis to something I rarely notice anymore.

10:19PM PST on Feb 3, 2013

The key is REAL food.

10:16PM PST on Feb 3, 2013

And let's not forget the nuts. Almonds taste different in every country. Hazelnuts in Turkey really do taste better than the US ones, & the Walnuts from Iran are simply amazing. But the pistachios! Several different kinds it turns out. It's heaven. In Turkey, sunflower seeds are ubiquitous. But also pumpkin seeds.

My first night back in Istanbul a get together among friends we sipped black tea (grown in Turkey) gathered around a table while we peeled & shared citrus of several kinds, Turkish pears (interesting), several kinds of nuts (cracking hazelnuts with our teeth which is easy it turns out), and dried fruits. All vegan even though not all the people were. No gluten either.

Chips also only get a small rack in the stores, not an entire aisle. Produce is usually outside colorfully inviting people inside to shop.

Soups too, are often vegan as in Portugal (pureed veggie -- even McDonald's has soup on the menu) and Turkey (red lentil) plus really inexpensive. But super delicious.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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