March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to remind people to return to the basics of healthy eating. Although the right diet depends on each individual’s personal needs and state of health, the Mediterranean diet is one that is often recommended.
Eating Mediterranean style is actually easy and best of all, delicious. Here are 10 basics:
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. They have a lot of water content and help to provide a feeling of fullness. Preferably, eat locally grown fruits and vegetables that retain the highest nutrient content.
- Choose olive oil as your main source of added fat. It’s rich in vitamin E, beta-carotenes and monounsaturated fat.
- Incorporate healthful grains into your everyday diet. Carbohydrates have gotten a lot of bad press, but in the Mediterranean diet, moderate consumption of whole grains are a source of energy for a life of Active Wellness.
- Consume moderate amounts of dairy products, especially fermented ones such as yogurt, as it is known to contain live micro-organisms that can help improve the balance of good gut bacteria.
- Be sure to incorporate fish into your meal plans. Eat it at least once or twice a week. Cold water fish are known to contain omega fatty acids, beneficial for heart health.
- Eat eggs. They’re perfect alternatives to meat, high in quality proteins and fat. Once given a bad rap, eggs are now considered a complete food.
- Replace baked goods and other desserts with added sugar with fresh fruit. Eating fruit, such as dates, for dessert is common not only with Mediterranean cultures but also in Asian and African traditions.
- More than any other beverages, drink water. Water truly sustains healthy living. The Mediterranean diet also incorporates red wine as a healthful beverage, but only in moderation. Nutritionists recommend limiting consumption to no more than one portion daily for women and two for men.
- Eat red meat in moderation. If possible, use meat in combination with vegetables, such as in stews. Choose lean meats for their protein content and iron.
- Don’t eat processed foods. Processing removes valuable nutrients and enzymes, so you end up with empty calories.
With NikkenWellness organic nutritional supplements to fill in dietary gaps, it’s even easier to get back to the basics of healthy eating!
Sources: dietamediterranea.com, eatright.org