These days, it seems as if everyone’s a little health crazy. Whether you’re uploading a photo of your quinoa from Sweet Green, Instagramming your morning acai bowl or blogging about your latest trip to whole foods for chia seeds, you’re adding to the craze that is dieting.
But what if I tell you that there’s an area of the world, not so far away, that’s health conscious year round?
In the Mediterranean, there are many opportunities to eat healthy due to the availability of nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and naturally healthy oils. But don’t hop on a plane just yet, you can bring this diet close to home by making a couple of these Mediterranean diet secrets close to your (soon to be healthier) heart.
1. Reduce the number of meats and sweets
Meat can have high amounts of saturated fat, so limit your steaks and hamburgers to once a week. Added sugars in desserts and sugary drinks are just empty calories, providing little nutrition for your body.
2. Base every meal around fruits, vegetables, and whole grains:
This is a plant-based diet, and with good reason. Plant-based diets are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, thus people with this type of lifestyle are less likely to become obese, get cancer, have heart disease or high blood pressure.
3. Incorporate heart-healthy oils in your meals
Vegetable oils are the best sources of fat in your diet because they contain monounsaturated fat rather than saturated fat. While cooking, dose the pan with some olive oil rather than butter.
4. Eat fish two times a week
Fish is a great source of protein, polyunsaturated fats, and Omega-3 fatty acids to keep you heart healthy and decrease your blood pressure. The American Heart Association and the Academy on Nutrition and Dietetics recommend having two meals incorporating fish per week.
5. Throw in some nuts between meals to keep yourself full
Eating nuts is an easy way to provide your body with fiber, protein and essential fatty acids low in saturated fat. These light snacks are filled with vitamin E and phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. To keep you satiated during your busy day, stash an almond tin in your bag. For only $1.87, this portioned tin will ensure that you will never overdose on nuts between meals.
6. Stay active
This is not just a diet—this is a lifestyle. Increasing your physical activity reflects your health consciousness, as well as builds muscle, increases your metabolism rate and helps you release stress.
7. Enjoy your meals with others
Bringing your friends together for a nutritious dinner or a weekend lunch can help to support your new lifestyle habits as well as your mental health through creating a supportive community.
For more Mediterranean food, check these out: