With the kick-off to the New Year inevitably comes a host of headlines touting the newest diet trends and methods to help you look and feel your best for the year ahead.
For 2019, it appears what’s old is new again, with the Mediterranean diet snagging the top spot on the list of many plans created by health and wellness experts and nutrition professionals alike.
Mediterranean diet history
And for good reason. Recognized as one of the world’s healthiest diets, the Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that’s been followed for centuries in countries including Italy and Greece.
It generally involves:
● Eating an abundance of olive oil as your main source of fat, lots of vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
● Eating a moderate amount of fish and other seafood, poultry, dairy and (a minimal amount of) red wine.
● All but eliminating a very small amount of eggs, red meat, processed meat and sugar.
● The addition of regular physical activity.
Mediterranean diet benefits
Research suggests that following a Mediterranean-style way of eating comes with a long list of health benefits, including:
● Improved weight loss
● Reduced risk of depression
● Reduced levels of inflammation
● Lowered risk of heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease
In fact, an analysis of several studies involving more than 1.5 million healthy adults showed that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall mortality.
And women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Easy Ways to Incorporate Mediterranean-style Eating
As is the case with most eating plans that have the greatest health benefits, it’s all about consuming ‘real’ food. Something we tend to struggle with more so in North America than anywhere else in the world, thanks to our unlimited access to pre-packaged, processed convenience foods.
The good news is that companies are starting to hear the call from consumers who are looking for convenient options that can help them feed their families healthy, home-cooked meals without the time and effort that it’s taken in the past.
If you want to reap the benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet without having to spend hours over a hot stove every day, here are some suggestions you can incorporate:
● Meal prep. Spend time once a week chopping fresh vegetables for kid- and adult-friendly snacks, make a vegetable and whole grain salad for a delicious on-the-go lunch option, and marinate fresh seafood and poultry to use during the first few days of your week.
● Incorporate Authentica Sauces into your weekly meal plan. Taking the effort out of Italian cuisine, Authentica sauces are affordably priced and taste like your Nonna’s pasta sauce—because they’re small batch produced in Italy. All Authentica gourmet sauces are GMO-free and made with simple, all-natural ingredients.
● Embrace your inner Italian. Cook with family and friends and sit down to eat together. Think of cooking as a joy… not something to be dreaded.