Wining and dining is a favorite pastime of those that live along the Mediterranean and research has proven the festive lifestyle is not only good for your soul, but also your heart.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan combining elements of Mediterranean-style cooking.” The plan incorporates healthy fats like delicious olive oil and even red wine.
“Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, a recent analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality, a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.”
The Mediterranean Diet has its own food pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is a foundation of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices. These foods should be included in every meal.
The second level consists of fish and seafood which should be eaten often, at least twice a week. Moderate portions of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt make up the next layer. This means eat these foods daily to weekly.
Meats and Sweets make up the top of the pyramid which should be eaten, “less often.”
The key components of the Mediterranean diet according to the Mayo Clinic are as follows:
• Getting plenty of exercise
• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
The Mediterranean diet is followed by many who live in Greece. They eat less meat and have a diet rich in fruits and veggies.