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: