Five Things You May Not Know about the Mediterranean Diet
Maybe you’ve heard: the Mediterranean Diet is hot. It was named the Best Diet of 2019 by US News and World Reports. The Mediterranean Diet – which is actually more of a lifestyle than a diet – has been around for a long time. When following this lifestyle, people eat foods that are similar to those enjoyed in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains, olives and olive oil, herbs and spices, fish and seafood, eggs and dairy foods, and smaller portions of chicken and meats.
May is Mediterranean Diet Month. To celebrate, we’re sharing five things you may not know about the Mediterranean Diet.
- Keep dairy in your routine – Yogurt and aged cheeses are a traditional part of the Mediterranean Diet for good reason: they are an important source of probiotics. Milk is a critical source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin D (especially for those of us who don’t live in the sunny Mediterranean!) So go ahead and eat more whole grains cooked in milk. And make a creamy vegetable-based soup.
- Wine to wind down – Yes, wine is a part of the Mediterranean Diet. It’s traditionally enjoyed with food. Sipping a glass helps you slow down and savor your dinner – or weekend lunch. Either red or white wine is fine.
- Lentils are a way of vegging out – Not everyone thinks of lentils as fast food, but they are. A pot of lentils can be done in under 30 minutes. Then add a few ingredients from your fridge, and you’ve got a one-pot meal. Here are some favorite additions: cheese and green onions, tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, or shredded carrots with raisins and dried apricots.
- #Selfcare was the original Mediterranean way – Slowing down to enjoy friends and family especially at mealtimes may make you healthier. Set the timer and time one of your regular family dinners; then try stretching out the next dinner by just 10 minutes. Savoring the food and conversation a bit longer may make everyone feel better.
- Seafood x 2 – The essential omega-3 fats found in fish are found in few other foods. These fats may help reduce the inflammation that leads to many diseases. If you’re not a fish lover, start with mild tilapia, cod or shrimp; or open a can of albacore tuna, which tastes less fishy than light tuna. Mix the tuna with plain Greek yogurt or hummus and lots of fresh herbs to buffer the fish taste; then scoop the tasty tuna filling onto a sandwich, a salad, or a bowl of brown rice.
About the Author
Serena Ball, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, the co-author of The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health, and blogger atTeaspoonofSpice.com.