Why Everyone Is Talking About The Mediterranean Diet In 2019
Research has shown that the Mediterranean style of eating can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's—best of all? The it's super diverse and flavourful.
Not to mention the Mediterranean diet also emphasises on portion control and enjoying meals in the company of others.
Dietitian Sally Shi-Po Poon shares 5 simple ways to incorporate it in our daily lives.
Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables
Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. A Mediterranean diet often includes barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro and millet to name a few. If you prefer to stick to something more familiar, opt for brown rice, quinoa, oats and wholegrain bread and pasta. They're richer in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and B vitamins than refined grains, which may help reduce the risk of constipation, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
A mediterranean is a colourful one; and fresh fruits and vegetables are an important source of dietary fibre, folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Brighten your day with vibrant colourful produce—like tomatoes, oranges, figs, bell peppers, berries and so much more.
Eat more fish
Fish is eaten on a regular basis in the Mediterranean diet. Fish is a good source of protein and low in saturated fat, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings of fish every week.
Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and albacore tuna are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
(Related: 5 Foods To Eat For A More Positive Outlook)
Choose plant-based protein
Legumes, lentils, nuts, and seeds are good sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. While protein, vitamin E, copper, iron, potassium, and phytochemicals work together to offer protection against oxidation, inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
The Mediterranean diet generally includes moderate amounts of eggs, poultry, and dairy products, and very little red meat.
(Related: Include These Foods In Your Diet For Better Health)
Use olive oil in cooking
Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil in particular, is the main source of dietary fat used in cooking and salad dressings when it comes to the Mediterranean Diet. Extra virgin olive oil is unrefined, making it high in antioxidants which are key for heart and overall health.
The use of saturated and trans fats—which are found in butter, shortening, lard, margarine, palm oil, and coconut oil—is discouraged. Saturated and trans fats can raise the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
(Related: Does A Gluten-Free Diet Make Sense For You? Read This First)
Drink red wine in moderation (optional)
Traditionally, red wine is consumed in moderation (if you choose to drink alcohol) when enjoying a Mediterranean feast. Otherwise, water or tea the primary beverages to have with meals.
Having regular fluids throughout the day will help you stay well hydrated, which has a positive impact on your overall health.
(Related: 10 Red Wines To Pair With Meat)