Many of us will have heard of the Mediterranean diet and may have been told that it is one of the healthiest diets you can have. The Mediterranean diet is high in fresh fish, vegetables and olive oil as well as wholegrains and legumes. Below you will find six aspects of the Mediterranean diet sourced from http://www.eatingwell.com/article/16372/8-ways-to-follow-the-mediterranean-diet-for-better-health/.
1. Olive Oil: Olive oil is high in mono-unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. Increasing your daily intake of both mono-unsaturated fat and poly-unsaturated fat has a wide range of benefits which include an increase in HDL cholesterol. This is the good cholesterol which we all need as it reduces the amount of LDL/ bad cholesterol and keeps are arteries free from blockage. Consuming foods high in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats is also important as they are needed for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
2. Eat more fish: Another aspect of the Mediterranean diet is the regular consumption of fresh fish. Fish is the main source of animal protein in the Mediterranean diet as opposed to meat and poultry. Oily fish is preferred however any type of fish can be eaten.
3. Eat more vegetables: The Mediterranean diet places high importance on the consumption of vegetables. If your current vegetable intake is lower, then the UK Government guidelines of five portions of fruit a day then adopting a Mediterranean diet will help. Add at least one portion to your lunch and dinner and if you feel the need to snack swap to a vegetable-based snack instead.
4. Eat more wholegrains: In their unrefined form wholegrains are a great source of fibre and carbohydrate. Whole grain rice and quinoa can be cooked in twenty to thirty minutes and make great side dishes. Many of the large chain food manufacturers place green labels on their products to indicste that wholegrains are used, the big four supermarkets now have sections for wholegrain and free from products making them easier for customers.
5. Snack on nuts: Unless you have a nut allergy then snacking on nuts will boost your intake of protein and healthy fats. A study in Nutrition Journal found that if people replaced their standard snack with almonds, their diets would be lower in empty calories, added sugar, and sodium. Unprocessed nuts contain more fibre and minerals, such as potassium, than processed snack foods. Unprocessed almond butter and peanut butter can also be spread on toast as a snack.
6. Fruit based deserts: A fantastic source of fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants. Fruit can also satisfy an individuals sweet tooth as it is a source of natural sugar. A simple way of ensuring you eat more fruit is to keep a fruit bowl at home in easy reach and to take fruit with you to work as a snack or to have as a desert.
The Mediterranean diet varies from country to country and even region to region, however by taking aspects of it and implementing them into your own diet will give you more variety.