Starting a Mediterranean Diet? Here Are the Foods You Need
Health experts have concluded that the Mediterranean diet is "the most universally beneficial" for overall and long-term health, according to Well + Good. Studies have also shown that those who follow this diet have significantly fewer cardiovascular problems.
American Board Family Medicine-certified physician Dr. Bindiya Gandi tells Mind Body Green that she recommends this diet to patients with diabetes, heart problems, and autoimmune diseases. You'll find that adding Mediterranean diet staples to your regular diet will improve your overall health.
Mediterranean Diet Staples
The Mediterranean diet is rather enjoyable as it is unrestrictive, and followers can enjoy a great variety of delicious and healthy food.
Registered dietician and nutrition coach Lauren Armstrong shares the Mediterranean diet staples with CNBC. These foods will help improve overall health and strength.
Oats are rich in fiber which helps your intestines function better. Fiber also eliminates carcinogens. However, the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that 95 percent of Americans don't consume enough of it.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of 25 grams of fiber. Armstrong says gluten-free, whole grain oats are her go-to source of fiber. Make it a breakfast staple with fresh fruit. For variety, try baked oats.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Harvard Medical School confirms that olive oil is rich in monosaturated fatty acids, and this helps lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) while raising "good" cholesterol (HDL).
It also contains high amounts of antioxidants which counters inflammation. The squalene and terpenoids in olive oil are also anti-cancer agents.
According to The Spruce Eats, there is "considerable fraud" in the olive oil industry, so be extra mindful of what you buy. Olive oil should have a green tinge. Olive oil that is too pale in color may have been added with other, less healthy oils.
The Spruce Eats recommends California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Ellora Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Fish is a big part of the Mediterranean diet. Salmon and tuna are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids that improve cardiovascular health. Have fish for lunch or dinner at least twice a week. Try this delicious salmon patties recipe from All Recipes.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, kale, romaine, and other green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, folate, and potassium. Salads are an easy way to incorporate greens into your diet.
For a filling and satisfying meal, add some chickpeas, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and feta cheese to your greens. Don't ruin this healthy bunch of ingredients with a fatty dressing. Use olive oil as a base and add Dijon mustard, some honey, and a pinch of salt.
Strawberries and blueberries have high levels of antioxidants that protect our cells from free radical damage. Grapes, figs, melons, apples, and bananas are also part of the Mediterranean diet.
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