May 10, 2010

Mediterranean Diet

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Food, Health tagged , , , , , at 7:11 am by Liliana

Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean diet combines styles of cooking from different countries of the Mediterranean region – Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Southern France. This healthy approach to food  has proven to help decrease the risk of a number of diseases: heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. It also helps sustain one’s overall well being and longevity.

Essential components of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Getting plenty of exercise and eating your meals in a relaxed setting with family and friends.
  • Eating generous amounts of fruits and vegetables. (Residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables a day.)
  • Consuming healthy fats such as olive oil. (Olives provide monounsaturated fats — a type of fat that helps reduce LDL cholesterol.  “Extra-virgin” olive oils are the least processed and contain the highest levels of the protective compounds.)
  • Eating small portions of nuts. (Nuts are high in calories, so they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day.)
  • Drinking red wine, in moderation. (Red wine contains antioxidants and has an aspirin-like effect, reducing the blood’s ability to clot. The Mediterranean diet typically includes some red wine, but this should be consumed only in moderation. This means no more than 5 ounces of wine daily for women (or men over age 65), and no more than 10 ounces of wine daily for men under age 65.)
  • Consuming very little red meat .
  • Eating fish or shellfish at least twice a week.

Adopting a Mediterranean diet to your lifestyle:

  • Eat natural, organic peanut butter
  • Use butter or margarine in very small amounts (if ever.)  Many are made with trans fats.
  • Eat 7 to 10 servings of whole fruits and vegetables every day. Keep carrots, grapes, apples and bananas (and fruits that are in season and preferably locally grown) on hand for quick and delicious snacks.
  • Use olive oil in cooking. Try olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar for salad dressings. After cooking pasta, add a bit of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring.
  • Season meals with herbs and spices rather than salt.
  • Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. Avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat meats.
  • Limit higher fat dairy products such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream.
  • Eat fish once or twice a week. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid fried fish.
  • Keep walnuts, almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts on hand for a quick snack.
  • Have a glass of red wine (or purple grape juice) at dinner with your pasta or fish on occasion.

This is a delicious and healthy way to eat!