Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
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The Mediterranean Diet
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By Mazzenga Daniels
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By Mazzenga Daniels
Aug. 26, 2013 10:27 p.m.

There are an alarming number of diets out there. Diets can be very dangerous however, if they do not provide you with the essential nutrients you require. One of the best diets available to the general public is the Mediterranean Diet. This diet is especially beneficial to those who have a history of heart disease. The Mediterranean Diet is proven to reduce the risk of heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, it is connected to the reduced risk of death from diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It can also reduce the incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Another benefit of the diet is that it includes canola oil and nuts which contain omega-3 fatty acids, this means the diet has the ability to “lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, and are associated with decreased incidence of sudden heart attacks, improve the health of your blood vessels, and help moderate blood pressure.” So what does this diet entail?

According to the Mayo Clinic,

“The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts

  • Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil

  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods

  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month

  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
    The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.”
    Aim for at least 6 servings of fruits & veggies per day. In addition, make your grains whole not refined. Eat it plain or dipped in olive oil not with butter or margarine. Nuts are consumed due to their good fat content, but not in large amounts. Fat is still fat, so keep it to a handful of nuts per day. Further, make sure they don't have any coatings (think honey roasted) or heavily salted. The main source of fat for the Mediterranean Diet is olive oil. Stick to extra virgin or virgin due to their being less processed and more (think highest levels) protective plant compounds that provide antioxidant effects. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat meaning it lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol. Fatty fish are high in omega-3's which we talked about before and are a staple in the Mediterranean Diet. Switch from red meat to fish to help yourself. Also, eat low-fat dairy in place of its higher fat counterpart. For more information, contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083. Or visit us online at ymcawayne.com.

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