Here are the basic principles of the Mediterranean diet:
- Eat at least 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. These should be the mainstay of your diet. A serving is generally ½ a cup.
- Eat fish and/or seafood at least 2 times a week. Opt for mercury free items such as salmon and keep in mind that a serving should be no bigger than the size of your fist.
- Eat only whole grains that are unprocessed. Again, a general serving is 1/2 a cup.
- Season your food with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt.
- Eat healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, beans, and legumes.
- Reduce the amount of chicken, eggs, cheese, and yogurt that you consume.
- Eliminate or only consume red meat (including pork) and sweets only once or twice per month.
- Consume alcohol in moderation (1 to 2 glasses of red wine with dinner).
- Take your time when eating and chew your food slowly.
- Make dining a low stress experience by shutting off electronics, lighting candles, and spending the time with family or friends.
- Be sure to include some physical activity in your day as well. Go for an after-dinner stroll or play a game with the kids on the lawn.
I have been slowly adopting this diet and have already reaped the benefits of a smaller waistline, clearer skin, and more energy. It takes time but the benefits make it worth the effort. Those who follow a Mediterranean diet drastically reduce their risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease!