Make Time to Enjoy a Healthy Meal with Others This National Mediterranean Diet Month

May 19, 2022 | Main Blog | 0 comments

With roots in a more traditional and healthful way of eating, the Mediterranean diet is said to be modeled after the diets of those living around the Mediterranean Sea. From Greece and Italy to Turkey, Egypt and Morocco, the many countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea provide delicious recipe inspiration for those interested in giving this diet a try.

So, what is the Mediterranean diet?

At a high level, the Mediterranean diet recommends opting for certain types of foods over others for the majority of your meals. This includes:

  • Fruits and vegetables (especially those that are fresh and in season)
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts, legumes, and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Olive oil

According to the Mediterranean diet pyramid, you should also aim to:

  • Eat eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation
  • Opt for fish and seafood over meat and poultry
  • Drink water often and wine in moderation
  • Have fewer sweets (fresh fruit for dessert)

Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

I first became familiar with the Mediterranean diet when a doctor recommended it to a family member as a means to help support a healthy heart. As someone who tends not to subscribe to any one diet over another, this one intrigued me as, beyond its list of healthy food options, it also recommends things like staying active and making time to sit down and enjoy meals with others.

There’s a long list of other health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, which is one that the American Heart Association recommends. According to AHA, following this diet may help to reduce the risk of stroke in women by significant numbers. This diet can be effective in helping to reduce the risk of other cardiovascular diseases; one study even found that it can lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 30%. Among the wide range of other health benefits reported, researchers have said it can lower cholesterol levels and prevent or help control diseases like diabetes.

Mediterranean Diet Recipe Inspiration

If you’re looking for some new dishes to try, there are thousands of Mediterranean diet recipes available online. The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen also includes many delicious options like Spanish-style toasted pasta, zucchini ribbon salad with shaved parmesan, and honey-lavender biscotti.

Even if, like me, you’re not ready to commit to the Mediterranean diet full time, it is still worth trying some of the many Mediterranean-inspired dishes that will support overall health and well-being and provide some tasty alternatives when you’re looking to try something new.

Her Nexx Chapter is a strategic alliance of the American Heart Association working to advance health equity and ensure all Americans have an opportunity for a fuller, healthier life.

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Marcy Swisher

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