The Mediterranean Diet refers to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts with the focus on fish or seafood at least twice a week. It replaces the butter and fats in the diet with olive oil. Red meat and sweets are not recommended more than once a week, if at all. Honey is the acceptable sweetener on this diet. Research shows that the Mediterranean Diet is known to lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers and stabilize blood sugar, according to MedlinePlus.com.
Fruits, Vegetables & Whole Grains
The basis of the Mediterranean Diet is plenty of fruits and vegetables. Lettuce, celery, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, avocados, celery, sweet potatoes, artichokes are some vegetables that will fill out the Mediterranean Diet menu. Any green leafy vegetable is a good choice. For fruits look to apples, oranges, grapes, peaches, strawberries, cherries, bananas and pears. Fruit drinks do not have the same nutritional value. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always the best choice, but frozen or canned are acceptable, too. The less processed, the better. Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice and whole grain pasta are a staple in the diet. Whole grain cereals or oatmeal are also a good choice for the Mediterranean Diet.
Fish, Seafood & Poultry
The Mediterranean Diet recommends eating fish or seafood at least twice a week to get essential omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, albacore and tilapia make good choices, but any seafood would be a good addition to the Mediterranean Diet. Poultry is also allowed, but red meat should be eaten in moderation, no more than once a week.
Dairy & Eggs
Choose low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese, recommends MayoClinic.com. Eggs should be limited. The Mediterranean diet calls for no more than seven eggs a week, including those in baked goods or other recipes.
Healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts are allowed on the Mediterranean Diet. Although nuts are generally high in fat, it's unsaturated, meaning nuts contain heart-healthy fats. As long as nuts are consumed in moderation they make a healthy choice. Olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, is recommended over other fats because it helps reduce artery-clogging low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is a better choice because it is less processed.
Wine is allowed in moderation, according to HelpGuide.org. No more than a glass or two a day, 5 ounces for women or 10 ounces for men. Red wine is the best choice, since it contains resveratrol, an antioxidant.
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