What Is the Mediterranean Diet? We Asked a Nutritionist for the Facts – PureWow
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What Does a Mediterranean Diet Consist Of?
You can eat an endless number of foods on this meal plan, and you have the Mediterranean’s diverse culinary landscape to thank for it. Think vegetables, grains, breads, rice, bulgur, freekeh, couscous, pasta, cheese, lentils, beans, fruit (fresh or dried), fish (fresh or canned), yogurt, lots of spices and herbs, olives and nuts.
While you can eat just about anything, the diet will work best if you prioritize fresh produce, whole grains and lean proteins. (And if you love seafood or don’t really like poultry, the pesco Mediterranean diet might be perfect for you.)
What Are the Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?
Stoler says there are “absolutely no risks” to trying the Mediterranean diet—only perks. “In fact, it’s always listed in the top ten diets every year by U.S. News & World Report when they do their diet review each January,” she explains. “It’s great for weight loss, heart health and longevity.” (That’s no surprise, since interest in the Mediterranean diet began in the 1950s, once research found that heart disease wasn’t nearly as common in the Mediterranean as it was in the U.S.)
The Mediterranean diet can do so much more than help you fit into your favorite jeans, though. Research shows that it can potentially boost your mood, improve frequent headaches and migraines, and boost your heart and brain health. Magnesium-rich foods (like beans, nuts, seeds and leafy greens), riboflavin-rich foods (like broccoli, eggs and almonds) and omega-3 fatty acids (aka essential fats found in fish, walnuts, hemp, chia and more that can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke)—all common on the diet—can work wonders for your body. Overall, the Mediterranean diet is thought to reduce cardiovascular risks and overall mortality.
Making fish a regular part of your diet alone can seriously improve your health, and it’s likely you’ll be eating a good amount of it on the Mediterranean diet. The American Heart Association says two three-ounce servings of fatty fish a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by 36 percent, while the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation says eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week can significantly lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Mayo Clinic also reports that fish can lower triglycerides and reduce blood clotting and stroke risk, plus aid with irregular heartbeats. Olive oil, the primary source of fat and go-to cooking oil on the Mediterranean diet (sorry, butter), also offers a bounty of benefits, thanks to …….