The Healthy Mediterranean Diet is Full of Flavor - PIH Health

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Published on April 06, 2015

The Healthy Mediterranean Diet is Full of Flavor

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean DietWhen most people think of Mediterranean food, pasta and pizza come to mind.  However, the Mediterranean diet is so much more – and is much healthier than you may think.  Those who live in the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea eat a basic healthy diet, with a lot of flavor added from fresh herbs and a splash of olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat.

The Mayo Clinic studied more than 1.5 million healthy adults following a traditional Mediterranean diet and found a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and even Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Here’s the key:

  • Eat plenty of plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replace butter with healthy fats, like olive oil
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Choose low fat dairy
  • Be physically active
  • Enjoy meals with family and friends!

Mediterraneans typically eat whole grains and very little unhealthy trans fats.  Bread is an important part of the diet, however, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not with butter or margarine.  Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day and avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts. Seafood is abundant in Mediterranean countries, so their diet includes a great deal of fish, and when they do eat meat they generally opt for lean meats like pork and poultry in small portions grilled, baked or broiled with olive oil, herbs and spices and little or no salt.

This article was reviewed and approved by Andrea Adams, Lead Clinical Dietitian at PIH Health Downey Hospital.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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