Ever wondered how inhabitants of the Mediterranean get those beautiful, slim bodies?
According to registered dietitian and culinary expert Michelle Dudash , this May, the nonprofit Oldways celebrates National Mediterranean Diet Month to highlight the healthy eating style of this region, which is proven to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and even boost brainpower.
Dudash also approves of this plan as the foundation of a healthy weight management program to stick with for a lifetime.
The best part? It doesn't have to be hard to adjust to!
Check out Dudash's seven Mediterranean-inspired tips to get healthy and slim down.
1. Eat primarily plant-based foods.
Pile on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Mediterranean diets typically include as many as nine servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
2. Get friendly with a fishmonger.
Seafood, another important component of the Mediterranean diet provides healthy fats that have been shown to lower triglyceride levels. Aim to include seafood at least twice a week while limiting red meat to a few times per month, or 12 to 16 ounces. Eggs, cheese, and yogurt may be relied on for protein regularly, but in more moderate amounts.
3. Lightly drizzle olive oil.
Olive oil serves up a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Incorporate olive oil by replacing half or all of the butter in recipes, pouring olive oil onto salads and cooked vegetables, and dipping bread into oil infused with herbs such as basil, rosemary, and thyme. Use extra virgin oil versus “light” varieties for higher amounts of health healthy polyphenols. While olive oil offers many benefits, 1 tablespoon packs in 120 calories, so keep portion size in consideration.
4. Eat with friends and family.
Enjoying a meal with others to maintain your emotional health and self-esteem may help to increase and maintain healthy eating habits. People in Mediterranean countries tend to eat their meals with family and friends making traditional mealtimes an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
5. Enjoy a glass a wine.
It is unusual for a diet to promote alcohol use, but one 5-ounce glass of red wine is linked with positive health outcomes. Certain individuals should not consume alcohol, including those who are pregnant, have a history of liver failure, pancreatitis, or alcohol abuse.
6. Include herbs and spices.
Seasoning food with herbs and spices was added to the diet in 2008 for reasons of both health and taste. This is good news for dieters looking to spice things up and add flavor and zest into low calorie cuisine.
7. Sweets in small amounts.
A large wedge of watermelon or platter of freshly sliced fruit appears commonly on European tables for dessert, which is a wise choice. Smaller portions of gelato and sorbet can be enjoyed a few times a week.
Download a copy of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid here .
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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