Making the Mediterranean Diet Work

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BY JENNA M. AMOS, R.D.

Registered Dietitian at Inserra Supermarkets’ ShopRite of Northvale
Amos
Jenna Amos, R.D.

Diet trends come and go, and lately the Mediterranean diet has been receiving a lot of attention.  However, unlike many other diet trends, the Mediterranean diet holds weight in the scientific community, where study after study points to its health benefits. This eating pattern, which focuses on the traditional diets of the countries along the Mediterranean, is associated with health attributes, ranging from lowering the risk of chronic disease and cancer to helping with weight loss and management.  Further, this eating pattern forgoes prepackaged meals and fads for simple and real foods, making it easily adopted. Here are a few tips to get started today:

  • Make fruits and veggies a priority!  Fruits and vegetables are the stars of this eating pattern. Make sure to choose a wide variety for the most benefits.
  • Swap out butter and margarine for healthy unsaturated fats found in olive oil.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains. Switch to whole wheat bread and pasta and try oatmeal and whole grain cereals for breakfast.
  • Snack on seeds and nuts (and more fruits and veggies!)
  • Season your foods with herbs and spices. Rosemary, oregano and garlic are frequently used in Mediterranean cuisines.
  • Include seafood 2-3 times per week. Salmon, tuna and sardines are loaded with heart healthy omega-3s.
  • Be physically active and enjoy your meals with others.

Even if you are not ready to fully commit to the Mediterranean lifestyle, making a few small changes will be beneficial toward your health!

Sources:  The Mayo Clinic, Oldways

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