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Mediterranean Diet Pattern for Health

Charlyn Fargo on

If you're looking for a healthy way to eat, look no further than the Mediterranean Diet. It's healthy, environmentally friendly, flexible and perhaps the most healthful way to eat.

May just happens to be International Mediterranean Diet Month, a great time to investigate the health benefits of the Mediterranean way of eating. It's the traditional dietary pattern of Greece, Italy and other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The pattern focuses on whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices with olive oil as the main source of fat. Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation; red meat is eaten once a week.

Following the diet plan has shown in studies a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, several types of cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The Mediterranean Diet represents the gold standard in preventive medicine, according to the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care's Nov. 2016 issue. Since then, it's been one of the most studied eating patterns. The journal credits the diet's harmonic combination of many elements with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which overwhelm any single nutrient or food item. The study, called Predimed, was the first randomized trial showing that an intervention based on changes in dietary pattern can reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve cognition.

Here's how to get started:

No. 1: Choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and seeds daily.

 

No. 2: Add small servings of olive oil, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

No. 3: Add fish and seafood, poultry and occasionally, red meat.

No. 4: Focus on fresh, unprocessed ingredients.

No. 5: Be physically active and enjoy meals with others.

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