The Mediterranean diet has been called the “healthiest” diet of all, and my brother, Craig, a physician, sites research to his patients quite often as the most highly recommended diet. As a Nutritionist, I have studied a lot about it too, but when I was in Italy last month, I became a true believer. I traveled for seven full days in Italy eating six and eight course meals for lunch and dinner served with wine. I also didn’t exercise the entire week (very unlike me). When I came home and realized I actually lost weight, I was stumped. I thought about what ingredients comprised those extravagant meals, and I realized how pure all the food was. This shot was taken on my trip touring the beautiful land of the Le Marche Region of Italy.
Some Key Components of the Mediterranean Diet Include:
1. Plenty of exercise
2. Eating primarily plant based foods
3. Replacing butter with olive and canola oils
4. Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
5. Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month. Eat more vegetables.
6. Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
7. Drinking red wine in moderation.
8. Eat fruit for dessert
9. Eat small portions of high-quality foods.
10. Eat yogurt and cheese as your main dairy products.
11. This diet conveys the importance of enjoying meals with friends and family.
Top Foods on The Mediterranean Diet
-Fish and Seafood
-Olive oil or canola oil
-Fruits and Vegetables
Rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish oil and even red wine, this diet is lower in saturated fat and has been said to reduce risks of cancers, heart disease and more.
Other Great Attributes about a Mediterranean diet:
1) A diet rich in fruits, grains, nuts, can reduce risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and alzheimers.
2) This diet is high in fiber which is great for decreased risk of diabetes and stomach issues.
3) This diet is filled with a good supply of mono-unsaturated fats found in fish, avocados, olive and canola oil which can help fight disease from the cellular level.
4) This is a diet people can stick to and actually enjoy.
While at their peak season, indulge in blackberries for a nutritious snack or dessert. One cup of fresh blackberries has 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and only 1 mg of sodium. Here are the top 10 health benefits of eating blackberries:
1. Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants.
2. Blackberries are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.
3. Blackberries are filled with anthocyanins (antioxidants which give blackberries their deep purple color) which help in memory retention and the risk of hypertension.
4. Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease and help improve eyesight.
5. The high tannin content of blackberries help tighten tissue, relieve intestinal inflammation, and help reduce hemorrhoids and stomach disorders.
6. Ohio State University found that blackberries may protect against esophageal cancer, a cancer caused by gastric reflux disease.
7. Blackberries have shown to protect against other types of cancers. They contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), a compound believed to play a vital role in preventing breast and cervical cancer.
8. Blackberries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese and fiber.
9. The high fiber content of blackberries help reduce risk of intestinal disease and the risk of developing diabetes.
10. Blackberries are a healthy food choice that kids and adults love. They are a great way to refuel after a hard workout and help aid in fighting obesity. See a recipe for Blackberry-Blueberry Cobbler from my site last year.