Article and Research by Layla Mays
The Mediterranean Diet is a satisfying and flavorful plant-based diet rich in nutritional benefits. This popular diet is based on the deep traditions and lifestyle of the beautiful coastal countries along the vivid turquoise Mediterranean Sea including Italy, Greece, and France. Not only is the Mediterranean Diet an eating pattern, it is a lifestyle, that includes savoring dishes with crisp vegetables, fresh seafood, heart-healthy olive oil, and even a glass of red wine.
The cuisine of Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats from fish, seafood, and olive oil. Meat, dairy, eggs, and red wine are welcomed in moderation. Some research studies suggest that this eating pattern has potential health benefits such as reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Looking to follow the Mediterranean diet? Here are a few tips to incorporate local Texas ingredients into a Mediterranean-style meal plan:
Eat Your Colors
Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables are a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, so fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. Summer vegetables such as Texas tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and zucchini are perfect for a Mediterranean-style meal.
Try These Recipes:
More Healthy Fats
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are known to improve “good” HDL cholesterol and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Healthy fats provide flavor and satiety and can be found in Mediterranean dishes such as hummus and babaganoush.
Try This Recipe: Zucchini Basil Fritters with Yogurt- Olive Oil Sauce
Choose Heart Healthy Fish
Fish and seafood are rich in heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids that help lower triglyceride levels in the blood. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are particularly high in omega-3’s. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish twice a week for heart-protective benefits. Try Mediterranean pan-seared red snapper for a quick and healthy dish.
Try Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes
Nuts and seeds are a packed heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and plant-based protein. Legumes (which include beans, peas, and lentils) are also a great source of fiber and protein. Fiber promotes satiety, keeps blood sugars stable, and has an important role in gut health. Nuts such as Texas pecans have cholesterol-lowering properties and are great for a snack or crunchy salad topping. Try This Recipe: Beans and Greens with Caper Vinaigrette
Spice Up Your Dish with Fresh Herbs
Skip the extra salt and use fresh herbs to enhance your meals. Texas-grown herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme add vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and fresh flavors to Mediterranean-style dishes. Read More: The Magic of Fresh Herbs