Are you familiar with the Mediterranean Diet? While it’s not actually a diet, you can consider it a style of eating used by people that live near the Mediterranean Sea. Research suggests that a Mediterranean eating pattern can lead to health benefits such as: improved cardiovascular health1, improvements in blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes2, and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease3.
Foods that are encouraged4:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
Foods to eat in moderation:
Foods to limit:
- Sweets, candy, desserts
- Red meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork
Want to experiment with this way of eating? Here are some tips for incorporating a Mediterranean eating pattern into your daily life:
- Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with walnuts and berries.
- Replace a bag of potato chips or pretzels with a handful of nuts as a snack.
- Top your salad with baked salmon for added heart-healthy protein.
- When cooking, use olive oil in place of butter.
- Replacing a meat-based meal with beans. For example, use black beans in your tacos instead of ground beef.
- Grab a piece of fruit rather than a slice of cake for dessert.
A Mediterranean eating pattern can provide potential health benefits and is relatively easy to follow. Why not start the new year by incorporating these guidelines into your eating habits. Have questions? We’re here to help! For more information on how to include these tips in a way that works for you, make an appointment with one of our registered dietitians.
- Carson JAS, Lichtenstein AH, Anderson CAM, Appel LJ, Kris-Etherton PM, Meyer KA, Petersen K, Polonsky T, Van Horn L; on behalf of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; and Stroke Council. Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular risk: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2019;140. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000743.
- Esposito K, Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, et al. A journey into a Mediterranean diet and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analyses. BMJ Open 2015;5:e008222. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008222
- Lourida, Ilianna, et al. “Mediterranean Diet, Cognitive Function, and Dementia: A Systematic Review.” Epidemiology, vol. 24, no. 4, 2013, pp. 479–489., www.jstor.org/stable/23486687.
- Ball, Serena, and Deanna Segrave-Daly. The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook.: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health. Rockridge Press, 2018.