There are some simple things you can do to eat more of the healthy foods that make up the Mediterranean diet. First, check out what’s on the menu. Then see what Mediterranean-type foods you can add to your daily diet.
Here are a few simple things to add to your daily food plan
The traditional Mediterranean diet calls for:
- Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, such as grapes, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, figs, olives, spinach, eggplant, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
- Eating a variety of whole-grain foods each day, such as oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread, pasta, and couscous.
- Choosing healthy (unsaturated) fats, such as nuts, olive oil, and certain nut or seed oils like canola, soybean, and flaxseed. About 35% to 40% of daily calories can come from fat, mainly from unsaturated fats.
- Limiting unhealthy (saturated) fats, such as butter, palm oil, and coconut oil. And limit fats found in animal products, such as meat and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Eating mostly vegetarian meals that include whole grains, beans, lentils, and vegetables.
- Eating fish at least 2 times a week, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, or sardines.
- Eating moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products each day or weekly, such as milk, cheese, or yogurt.
- Eating moderate amounts of poultry and eggs every 2 days or weekly.
- Limiting red meat to only a few times a month in very small amounts. For example, a serving of meat is 3 ounces. This is about the size of a deck of cards.
- Limiting sweets and desserts to only a few times a week. This includes sugar-sweetened drinks like soda.
The Mediterranean diet may also include red wine with your meal-1 glass each day for women and up to 2 glasses a day for men.
Why convert to a Mediterranean diet?
- Prevent heart disease.
- Lower the risk of a heart attack.
- Lower cholesterol.
- Prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Prevent metabolic syndrome.
For your brain, a Mediterranean-style diet might help prevent:
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.
- Parkinson’s disease.