The Mediterranean diet is a traditional way of eating that has been around for millennia. It’s a lifestyle that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish and olive oil, while cutting out dairy, processed foods and red meat.
The Mediterranean diet isn’t just about food — it’s also about the lifestyle you lead. That means getting plenty of physical activity and enjoying time with family and friends.
If you’re interested in following the Mediterranean diet, here are some tips to get started:
- Start by adding more plant-based foods — vegetables, fruits and whole grains — into your diet. This will help you get more nutrients from food without having to count calories or carbs or worry about portion sizes.
- Eat whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains contain more fiber and nutrients than refined grains, which have been stripped of their bran and germ during processing. They also have less starch and more protein than white breads and pastas made from refined wheat flour.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that help fight off free radicals — harmful molecules in the body that cause damage to cells and DNA — which may play a role in cancer development.
- Choose healthy fats like olive oil rather than butter or margarine when cooking at home or eating out. Olive oil has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol levels because it lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels without affecting HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
- Make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D by choosing dairy products with low-fat versions of milk (such as 2% or 1%) or fortified soy beverages (such as soymilk).
- You also need to eat more fish than meat for dinner — about twice as much fish as meat each week — as well as limit dairy products such as cheese and yogurt so that they account for no more than 5 percent of your calories per day .