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Do you love the Mediterranean?It’s a traditionally healthy lifestyle we can all learn from!

The Mediterranean diet has long been considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet – and rightfully so. For thousands of years, residents along the Mediterranean coast have enjoyed the delicious diet, leisurely dining, and engaging in regular physical activity. They don’t think of their eating habits as a diet plan; it’s simply a way of life that can lead to long, healthy lives with less chance of chronic disease.

When my husband was first diagnosed with borderline high cholesterol and high blood pressure, his doctor recommended The Mediterranean Diet. This was about 10 years ago and today I have totally embraced the ideas and staples of this fantastic way of eating.

A growing body of research continues to prove that eating a diet rich in plant foods and healthy fats is good for you. Studies show that following a Mediterranean diet protects against the development of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, some types of cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease —and overall leads to a longer lifespan. The health effects of a Mediterranean diet have been studied extensively in the last 10 years, resulting in better science and more clinical evidence.

“There are numerous health benefits, the strongest and most profound evidence is the protection of cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, a researcher, cardiologist, associate professor, and codirector of the cardiovascular epidemiology program at Harvard School of Public Health.

What Is a Mediterranean Diet? It’s simply a lifestyle of good health & good food. There is no single Mediterranean diet. Instead, each region across Europe — from Spain to the Middle East — customizes the basic diet to take advantage of food availability and cultural preferences. However all of the region includes a diet that an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, olives and olive oil along with some cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, eggs, and wine-aaaahh! Bon Appetit!

Most of the foods on the plan are fresh, seasonal whole foods –they’re not processed. Preparation methods tend to be simple; foods are rarely deep-fried. Only small amounts of saturated fat, sodium, sweets, and meat are part of the plan. The Mediterranean lifestyle also includes leisurely dining and regular physical activity, which are an important part of the equation.

Besides all the other health benefits, there may also be a weight advantage. Research makes it clear: Being physically active and eating a nutritious diet made up mainly of whole foods that are filling and satisfying can help people lose weight.

Hands down, it is one of the best diet plans. It tastes delicious, is totally enjoyable, and exactly what the body needs for good health, says Diekman, nutrition director at Washington University in St. Louis.

“For decades, the science continues to grow and support the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet emphasizing the importance of a plant-based diet, healthy fats, and stress relief from family, friends, and regular physical activity,” Diekman says.

The Mediterranean diet is considered a model for good health. Research continues to show the Mediterranean diet, based on healthy foods and physical activity, are the prescription for a long, healthy life. It is an excellent, enjoyable lifestyle diet plan that is easy to follow, flexible, and best of all – good for you.

So the bottom line is that you don’t need to live along the Mediterranean to enjoy the lifestyle and the benefits of a wonderful diet. Simply adopting a few simple rules about how you eat and you too can enjoy the benefits!

-Eating mostly plant foods fruits and vegetables

-Eating Fish & poultry

-Eating yogurts, low-fat cheeses & milk

-Cooking with extra virgin olive oils

-Truly enjoying your meals with friends & family thereby reducing daily stress levels

-Maintaining a physically active lifestyle

Even if you don’t completely follow the dietary pattern to the T, simply eating more of the foods on the plan, making dining more leisurely, and being more active are superb health goals.

I’ve used the Mediterranean guide for a long time in our house. If you’d like to learn more about the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid check it out below but I encourage you to read the book and learn more about what foods to eat, portion sizes, and tips for adopting a true Mediterranean Lifestyle even if you’re like me, living in the suburbs of New Jersey.

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