The Mediterranean Diet is not a fad diet or get-skinny-quick scheme, but rather a healthy way of eating and living that will last a lifetime. By following the health practices of the people who inhabit the Mediterranean basin, you can adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise and a diet rich in natural foods. The Mediterranean approach to eating can help you improve your cardiovascular health, reduce your stress levels and boost your immune system. This diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, fish and lean protein, grains and healthy fats, while strictly limiting red meats and saturated fats. Here are some cooking tips that the Mediterranean Diet recommends to benefit your overall health:
1. Flavor Food with Fresh Herbs and Spices
The Mediterranean Diet urges you to put away the salt shaker, and instead flavor your foods with a variety of spices and fresh herbs. An excess amount of salt can lead to health complications, such as high blood pressure, while spices are loaded with antioxidants and substances that promote healthy living. Not only that, herbs will make your food taste delicious and are the ultimate way to spice up your meal.
2. Cook with Olive Oil
The Mediterranean Diet is an advocate of olive oil, as it is loaded with the healthy fat, monounsaturated fat. This type of fat has the power to lower LDL cholesterol levels when replacing its unhealthy counterpart, saturated fat. Therefore, olive oil and other forms of healthy fat like nuts, should be the main source of fat in your diet. You should always cook with olive oil instead of butter, especially the least processed kinds of olive oil like extra virgin and virgin. If you choose to enjoy whole grain bread with your meal, dip it in olive oil and pass on the butter.
3. Choose Whole Grains
When cooking up a starch to supplement your meal, make sure it is comprised of whole grains and not white flour. Therefore, always choose whole grain rice and pasta, which benefit your health and keep you fuller longer, and shun the white varieties which can promote weight gain and other unpleasant side effects. Likewise, always go for whole grain bread and cereal, but try to ultimately keep your carb consumption on the lower side.
4. Include Fruits and Vegetables
No matter what you’re cooking, always add a colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. Fruits and veggies also make an ideal snack, and you should strive to eat 10 servings a day for optimal health.
5. Eat Fish and Lean Poultry
You should try to cook fish once or twice a week to reap its health benefits. Grill your fish and flavor it with a variety of spices. You should also replace red meat with lean protein, such as white chicken or turkey flavored with lemon juice and herbs. If you must indulge in red meat every now and then, make sure it’s a lean cut and keep the portion small.
6. Enjoy a Glass of Red Wine
Feel free to cook with red wine to enhance the flavor of your food, as it delivers antioxidants. It’s okay to enjoy one glass of red wine with your meal, but any more will derail its health benefits.
Follow these easy ways to cook according to the Mediterranean Diet to make your food both flavorful and healthy.