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Mediterranean Diet 101: Introduction to the Basics

Posted Jan 08 2010 4:21am

Toasting_WineDrinking every night is healthy?  What!? In the Mediterranean diet it is.  Europeans have been making and drinking wine for centuries and they are known for their long life expectancies and beautifully slim bodies.  Lots of studies show that one small glass of red wine can be linked to reduced risk of heart disease.  Now that I have your attention guys, this doesn’t mean drink a six pack at every meal!  This diet is based on foods, drinks, and cooking styles from the countries in Europe that border the Mediterranean Sea.  Read on to see what foods are included in this unique diet!

Olive oil can be used in almost everything.  It does contain some fat, but it is the healthy kind which your body needs anyway to keep you energized.  Replace other fats and oils in your diet and this shouldn’t be a problem.  Try olive oil in Italian pastas or a Greek style vegetable salad! You can also dip your fresh bread right in it for a yummy alternate to butter! 

Fresh fish and seafood contain lots of Omega-3’s, a type of fatty acid that is super healthy to every human body.  It actually lowers the risk of certain diseases!  The countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea have tons of fresh seafood available, but if you’re not so lucky to live by the water, just check your grocery for the next best thing. 

Veggies, Veggies, and more Veggies!  The Mediterranean diet is almost like going vegetarian.  You need to add lots of vegetables to your daily meals.  Plant foods are linked to decreased risk of heart disease and certain cancers!  Cut down on the red meat, and add 7-10 servings of these babies every day!

Fruit contains natural sugar, therefore making it a naturally sweet snack!  Try grabbing whatever grows locally near you or try something new at the grocery store for your next dessert.  You’ll save tons of packed in sugar calories and fats, plus they are packed with lots of vitamin C!

Whole grains like pasta, potatoes, bread, couscous, polenta, and rice are important in the Mediterranean diet as these sources of carbohydrates provide energy and aid in digestion.  So tonight why not try that pizza or pasta from the Italian cookbook your mom gave you along with a glass of wine!  Just remember good things often come in small sizes; maintain your portions and enjoy!

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