The Mediterranean Diet has gained a lot of popularity because not only is it healthy, but it's darn delicious too! Who can pass up tasty fruits and veggies, fresh fish, and the occasional glass of wine? Not me!
Before you jump right into the diet, though, the British Dietetic Association has five tips so you can follow a Mediterranean-style diet without having to hop on a flight or read the whole book:
- Fill up on fruit and veg. Aim to eat a minimum of five portions of a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables each day. They contain a wide range of protective plant nutrients or phytochemicals. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables all count in the diet. Beans and pulses and 100 percent juice or smoothies count too but only as one portion a day, no matter how much you have.
- Feast on fish. Go for fish dishes more often, including at least one portion of oil-rich fish a week. Choose from salmon, trout, mackerel, herrings, sardines or pilchards. Fresh, smoked, frozen, and canned varieties all count.
- Choose your fats wisely. Use vegetable oils, such as rapeseed (canola) oil or olive oil, in moderation for cooking and to dress salad, and soft spreads made from these oils on bread. When using animal fats, such as butter or cream, do so very sparingly. Cut down on fatty cuts of red meat and meat products such as sausages, pies, and streaky bacon. Trim the fat from cuts of red meat and the skin from chicken and limit your intake of fried fast food.
- Make it whole grain. When choosing foods from the starchy food group, replace refined cereal foods with whole grain varieties. Wheat, oats, barley, rye, and rice can all be eaten in the whole grain form. Aim to get at least half your starchy carbohydrates as whole grains — at least two to three servings a day.
- Go easy on alcohol. Moderate drinking has been shown to have protective health effects in men and post-menopausal women. In particular, red wine contains beneficial substances that may protect artery walls. Experts recommend only moderate consumption of alcohol — one to two units per day. Over this amount, the detrimental effects (for example, liver cirrhosis_ are greater than any positive effects.
If all this is right up your alley, then you may want to consider reading The Mediterranean Diet book.