Mediterranean Diet

FACTS

  • This healthy diet is a plant-based diet with foods commonly prepared and eaten in the Mediterranean region.
  • Multiple research studies have shown a reduced risk of chronic diseases in study participants who follow this diet.

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Reduced risk of developing:
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Heart attacks and strokes
    • Type 2 Diabetes

MEDITERRANEAN DIET FOOD CHOICES

Protein

  • Eat fish twice a week, especially salmon, trout, and sardines.
  • Choose boneless, skinless chicken and turkey.
  • Limit red meat consumption. A serving size is 3-4oz, roughly the size of a deck of cards.
  • Add quinoa, soy, and buckwheat for plant-based complete proteins.

Vegetables

  • Buy from a local farm. Local produce typically has more nutrients than food shipped from other regions of the country.
  • Use frozen vegetables for out-of-season produce.
  • Add a variety of nutrients by choosing vegetables of different colors.
  • Crunchy vegetables make a great snack!

Fruit

  • Buy from a local farm. Local produce typically has more nutrients than food shipped from other regions of the country.
  • Wash and cut fruit ahead of time to make it a grab-and-go snack.
  • Fruit is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth; as a bonus, drizzle with honey.
  • Remember to add variety to capture different types of needed vitamins and minerals.

Grains

  • Choose whole grains, breads, and pastas. Processed white flour removes nutrients essential for healthy living.
  • Read food labels and look for “whole grain.” Manufacturers may add molasses to make a product look like it is whole grain.
  • Oats and quinoa are great additions to a healthy diet.

Legumes

  • Legumes, which include beans, peas, lentils, and nuts, contain protein and healthy fats.
  • A variety of seeds, such as flax and sunflower, can be sprinkled on yogurt or salads.
  • Try nuts instead of chips or cookies for a midday snack.

Beverages

  • Drink lots and lots of water, striving for six-to-eight 8oz cups per day.
  • Avoid drinks containing sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  • Drinks sweetened with stevia are a good choice.
  • Flavor water with slices of strawberry, melon, cucumber, or other fruits.
  • Follow recommended limitations for alcohol consumption.
  • Read the website document Alcohol and Aging for more information.

Fats and oils

  • Use extra virgin olive oil, canola, avocado, or walnut oil instead of butter and margarine.

Dairy

  • Moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products are permitted, such as 1% milk, Greek yogurt, and feta and goat cheeses.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL DIET

  • Balance – Choosing foods from all the food groups listed below
  • Variety – Choosing different foods from within the food group
  • Moderation – Limiting the quantity of any one food or food group

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