I recently fell in love with the Mediterranean diet. With so many delicious food options and health benefits, what's not to love?
One of the top benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it's an anti-inflammatory diet. This makes it great for people suffering from conditions such as depression, diabetes, autoimmune disease, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
The Mediterranean diet consists largely of foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, legumes, low-dairy and olive oil. This makes it chock-full of antioxidants, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and minerals.
If you suffer from a chronic illness and want to take back your health, I highly recommend the Mediterranean diet for the following reasons…
Five ways in which the Mediterranean diet helps with inflammatory diseases
#1: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
The Mediterranean diet is abundant in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive oil as well as polyunsaturated fats including omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that you get from fatty dish.
Try to eat fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring or sardines at least twice a week. Save red meat for once a week or special occasions only. Also try to replace butter or margarine with extra-virgin olive oil. It’s great for drizzling on salads and cooking with at moderate temperatures. Olive oil, garlic and lemon are three main ingredients in many scrumptious Mediterranean dishes, so feel free to get creative with them!
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#2: Low-fat dairy
dairy products such as goat’s milk, Greek yoghurt and feta cheese are simply delicious and can be enjoyed sparingly. You should try and get two or three servings of low-fat dairy per week. A great option for breakfast, dessert or even a snack that’s full of protein, calcium and vitamins is a bowl of fresh Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey and topped with fresh fruit.
#3: Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a staple in the Mediterranean diet and brilliant sources of essential phytonutrients. The Greek actually eat greens at every meal! Try to eat fruits and vegetables at each meal, including snacks. Yes, this includes desserts – it will help you avoid additional carbohydrates and sugars. Some tasty savoury options include a veggie-filled omelettes or a traditional Greek salad made with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cucumber, olives and feta.
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Here’s the plain truth. Diets alone don’t work.
How many diets have you been on, weight loss pills you’ve consumed, injections you’ve had to endure? You might have lost some weight but it’s probably all back on again…
The truth is that there is no magic solution to make the weight drop off.
The secret to successful weight loss isn’t starving yourself nor is it limiting your food choices or following a painful pattern of eating.
#4: Whole grains
Healthy grains and legumes are good sources of fibre, protein as well as micronutrients like zinc, magnesium and copper. A high-fibre diet will improve diabetes
and glucose intolerances, keep you full for longer and speed up fat burn in your body.
Healthy grains may have gotten a bad rap in the past, but now people are starting to realise their many nutritional benefits. Two great options include quinoa and barley. Hummus made of chickpeas, a traditional Greek food, is also yummy and super-healthy. Whenever you’re feeling peckish, snack on foods like these.
#5: Moderate alcohol
I’m sure you’re surprised to see alcohol on this list! Truth is, alcohol isn’t all bad. In fact, many Europeans, including the Greeks of course, enjoy wine with most of their meals. One or two glasses of red wine has been shown to slash your risk of cardiovascular-related death. But be careful to not overstep the two-glass mark… if you do, you can actually increase your risk of heart problems. Yikes!
If you don’t suffer from any food intolerances or allergies, the Mediterranean diet is sure to work for you. While you’re on it, don’t forget to enjoy the food and the culture to remind yourself that eating well and living well go hand in hand!