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Go Mediterranean for health, longevity and delicious tastes

Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN • May 27, 2020 at 10:30 PM

You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean lifestyle and that it is beneficial for health and longevity. This diet was developed after studying the eating patterns of those who live in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Although we are far from the Mediterranean, there are easy ways we can go Mediterranean even while living in a land-locked state.

EAT MORE VEGETABLES

The Mediterranean lifestyle is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber from fruits and vegetables. Focusing on seasonal produce especially not only ensures produce tastes fresh, but that it is also at its peak nutritional value. If you don’t have fresh, all forms count — frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Try to get a variety of colors and forms each day.

EAT SEAFOOD TWICE A WEEK

Even though we don’t live next to the water, it’s important that we still focus on getting fish and seafood at least twice a week. Fish is a lean protein source, but fatty fish like salmon or white albacore tuna also contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain and heart health. To meet your omega-3 needs, try to get at least two servings of fatty fish each week.

SWITCH TO HEALTHIER FAT

Unsaturated fats like olive oil are abundant in a Mediterranean meal pattern. These liquid fats come from plants — oils, nuts, seeds, avocados and olives. These types of fats are less likely to clog arteries, and in some cases, can increase the form of good cholesterol in your body.

INCORPORATE WHOLE GRAINS

The Mediterranean lifestyle includes whole grains when possible, particularly nontraditional whole grain options like quinoa, barley, whole grain cous cous and farro. Whole grains provide additional nutrients and fiber to support digestive health and promote satiety.

ENJOY MEALS TOGETHER

Lastly, it’s not just about what you eat, it’s how you eat! Enjoying meals together with family and friends is a significant part of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Get the whole family involved in food preparation. Eat meals at a table. Engage in conversation. Go Mediterranean with those you love to stay happy and healthy.

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