As we roll into a new year, the love fest for the Mediterranean diet continues—and the hype is well-deserved. The easy-to-follow eating plan has a seemingly endless variety of health benefits, including strengthening bones, improving gut health, and maybe even lengthening your lifespan! Why is anyone surprised that the Mediterranean diet has been named the best diet of 2019?
“The Mediterranean diet is an incredibly balanced way of eating and is sustainable for the long-term—which is why it’s been so popular for so long,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, of Amy Gorin Nutrition. “What’s more, this diet can also help with weight loss, and it may also help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.”
Unlike some eating plans with a seemingly infinite number of rules, the Mediterranean diet is fairly straightforward and that makes it simple to stick with it. “Because the Mediterranean diet reflects the dietary habits of people who live in the Mediterranean, it typically includes vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, pulses, and a moderate amount of foods like red wine and dairy,” Gorin says.
If you’re switching to a diet that truly stands the test of time, consider this list your guide when it comes to stocking your refrigerator.
Your Mediterranean diet food list
THE CORE OF YOUR DIET
- fruits and vegetables of all kinds
- whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, whole grain pasta and bread, etc.)
- nuts and seeds
- tubers (white and sweet potatoes, beets, etc.)
- healthy fats (avocados, olives, etc.)
- beans and legumes
- seafood and fatty fish (salmon, shrimp, sardines, herring, etc.)
- high-quality olive oil
Note from the RD: “Pulses—like chickpeas, lentils, beans, and dried peas—are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. They’re a good source of filling protein and an excellent source of fiber, which helps to satisfy your appetite and keep your digestion healthy,” Gorin says. “Adding just a half-cup serving of pulses to your weekly meals three times a week can not only help keep your weight in check, but can help improve your overall health.”
Eat in moderation
- dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
Note from the RD: “You can eat dairy on the Mediterranean diet, but you’ll want to do so in moderation. However, you should try to swap in olive oil for butter, as olive oil offers heart-healthy fats,” says Gorin. “As for eggs, don’t take this to mean you should be eating only egg whites. I’d recommend most people eat the whole egg. The yolk of an egg supplies many important nutrients, including brain-helping choline and eye-helping lutein and zeaxanthin.”
Limit YOUR INTAKE
- red meat
- red wine
- refined grains and oils
- processed food
Note from the RD: “You’ll often see red wine on the Mediterranean diet list, and that’s because in moderation it can be beneficial to heart health. You do want to limit your alcohol intake, though,” Gorin says. “Women should have no more than one 5-ounce glass of wine daily, and men should have no more than two 5-ounce glasses of wine daily.”
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