The benefits of eating healthy include a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, arthritis, dementia, heart attacks, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, strokes, depression, anxiety insomnia, and fatigue.
There are many ways to improve nutrition, but studies that compare eating styles find that the Mediterranean Diet offers superior and lasting benefits compared to other plans (including keto, low-fat, and vegan diets).
People who eat a real-food-focused and plant-based diet live longer, have more stamina, increased energy, sleep better, feel happier and experience less stress.
Your body needs a foundation of fresh vegetables and fruits; a balanced mix of lean protein from poultry, fish, and legumes; healthy fats such as olive oil, and those found in avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Getting the best nutrition includes paying attention to what and how much you eat. Healthy eating lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, and depression while improving cholesterol, and helps you to maintain a healthy weight, sleep, and sexual function. The quality and quantity of food included in your daily eating plan directly affect your energy, stamina, mood, cognitive function, and sleep habits.
What do you know about nutrition? If you google it, you’ll see more than 795 million results for “healthy eating,” and more than a billion for “best nutrition.” Every few years or so, it seems a new book or diet plan becomes the latest craze. Magazines and websites relentlessly boast about incredible diets that promise instant health and weight loss. You probably have a set idea about “good” versus “bad” foods you learned from parents, your peers, in school, at the gym, and so on. We are bombarded with advice, strategies, plans, and programs for eating healthy—and figuring out the facts about healthy eating from the fiction can be daunting. Thankfully, there’s been one way of eating that’s been around for more than 7,000 years that rises above the rest: The Mediterranean Diet. This is an eating style most closely associated with the foods consumed in rural Greece and Italy in the 1960s. That said, there is no one “Mediterranean Diet,” this is a generic term based on standard eating practices of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. It is characterized by its abundance of natural, whole, and unprocessed foods; protein from lean sources such as poultry, fish, and legumes; and healthy fats such as olive oil, and those found in avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Why eat healthy?
While it does take some time and effort, eating healthy offers many benefits. You’ll reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, arthritis, dementia, heart attacks, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, strokes, de- pression, anxiety insomnia, fatigue—and you’ll decrease your risk of injury, illness, and death. That’s right—people who regularly eat healthy diets live longer, have more stamina and energy, sleep better, and are happier and less stressed—convinced? Great!
Let’s get started.
What should I eat?
Simplicity is the key to maintaining long-term healthy eating. Here’s how to get started:
- Eat healthy fats: Choose extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and unsalted and unsweetened nuts and seeds.
- Eat a minimum of two or more servings of vegetables and three or more servings of whole fruit each day.
- Choose lean protein from legumes, fish, or poultry.
- Choose whole grains refined grains Choose water as your primary beverage.
- Eat 3 servings of nuts.
- Eat 3 servings of fish and seafood Eat 3 servings of legumes.
- Choose lean meats (poultry) over red or processed meats (hamburger, sausages, lunch meat, pork).
- Butter, lard, stick margarine.
- Foods containing sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Soda, sugary drinks, fast and processed foods (limit to once or no times a week).
Many more Mediterranean eating guidelines, suggestions and recipes can be found online including information from the Mayo Clinic, the Women’s Heart Foundation, the American Heart Association, and many others.