Eating the Mediterranean Way

Many health experts noticed how people living in the Mediterranean region (like Spain, Italy, Greece, and south of France) have long lives and a healthy lifestyle, which have been attributed to their varied and healthful diet.  If you would like to live on a Mediterranean-style diet, here are some ideas that you can start with.

Stock on some veggies

It is important to buy vegetables in a variety of colors like dark green, red, bright yellow, and orange.  Turn the salad into a main course by putting nuts, diced chicken, and cheese.  If you do not have the time to prepare, buy pre-packaged salads or pre-cut vegetables.  You can also try other cooking methods for vegetables.

Eat more whole fruit

It is also best to eat a variety of fruits.  Try adding apple slices or pear cubes on your salad, or having whole-grain cereals with fruit and yogurt for breakfast, and eating whole-grain bread with peanut butter and banana.

Have some nuts

Nuts have a lot of antioxidants and nutrients, and unlike snacks from refined grains or sugar, they have a low glycemic index.  This means that it does not spike your blood sugar levels.  However, nuts are packed with calories so it is best to consume small amounts of nuts by sprinkling them on salads or yogurt.

Choose whole grain

Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals, and protein than refined grain.  It also has a low glycemic index, which you can have in pasta and breads made with whole-grain flours.  Try brown rice instead of white rice as well.

Consume good fats

About 40% of calories in the Mediterranean diet actually come from fat, mainly from olive oil.  A type of monounsaturated fat, olive oils lowers cholesterol levels as well as replaces unhealthy saturated fats.  Canola oil is also rich in monounsaturated fats, while fish oil is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids that are healthy for your heart.

Add some spices

The Mediterranean region is blessed with spices and herbs that bring out the flavor, as well as add nutrients to your meal.  Spices can also be used as a replacement for salt.

Use legumes

If you are in need of protein when you do not have the liking for meat, legumes like beans are a great substitute not only because of their protein content, but they are also low in fat while rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Use them on soups, salads, and even in casseroles.

Drink moderately

Drinking wine with meals is a staple in Mediterranean diet.  Alcohol increases good cholesterol levels, as well as improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation.  Certain wines also contain small amounts of flavonoids, a plant substance that possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity.