You probably didn’t start your day trekking across a white-washed beach and diving off a rocky cliff into the sparkling azure sea below. However, that shouldn’t stop you from in receiving all the benefits of a true Mediterranean diet.
This diet is based on consuming simple, whole foods as a delicious way to lower cholesterol—without the rules of a traditional diet. Instead, the Mediterranean diet focuses on the eating and lifestyle habits common to those living in parts of Greece, Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain that surround the Mediterranean Sea.
People from the Mediterranean benefit from their diet in many ways, first, they suffer far lower levels of chronic disease, which means they enjoy a highest life expectancy than most other countries in the world. Secondly, they do this by balancing work with leisure and family, they promote regular physical activity, and they consume a healthy diet comprised of mainly fresh fish, lean meat, whole fruits and vegetables, and heart-healthy whole grains and oils.
Due to all the amazing benefits of the Mediterranean diet, it has won a coveted gold medal as 2019’s best overall diet in a ranking by US News and World Report. This ranking looked at 41 different eating plans and found that the Mediterranean diet was the best in most major categories like “best diet for healthy eating, best plant-based diet, best diet for diabetes, and easiest diet to follow.”
With that being said, here are 16 things you should know about the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle…
1. Consume Fish in Abundance
Seafood fans will rejoice over a diet that recommends a minimum of 2 to 3 servings of fish each week! The benefits are right there in the filet. It’s a fact that most fish—including fresh salmon, mackerel, herring, blue and albacore tuna, sardines, and even anchovies—is a rich source of omega-3 healthy fats.
While the Mediterranean diet puts more of an emphasis on fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel, Eating Well says lean fish like cod and tilapia are still viable options. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fish, no worries. Aim for at least one fish night a week. There are tons of easy, no fuss, no mess ways to cook fish. If you don’t like eating it on its own, you can always incorporate it into other foods like a soup, salad, taco, or stir-fry.