The Mediterranean diet
People who follow the Mediterranean diet have a longer life expectancy and lower rates of chronic diseases compared with other adults.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It replaces butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil, and uses herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month, while fish should be on the menu twice a week.
Start the day the Mediterranean way
What does breakfast look like when you're following the Mediterranean diet? Appealing and full of fiber-rich foods, such as fruit and whole grains, that can keep you feeling pleasantly full for hours. This version includes plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, apple slices, whole-grain toast and peanut butter.
Fresh veggies, olives, pita and dip, clementines and iced tea
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the heart of the Mediterranean way of eating. Here's an easy lunch of hummus and baba ghanoush (eggplant dip), with pita and sliced vegetables for dipping. Olives round out the plate, and clementines add a sweet finish.
A dinner your heart will love
When you think Mediterranean, you probably think pasta. And this baked pasta dish with zucchini is a sure winner. A tossed salad and whole-grain roll round out the meal. Red wine, with its heart-health benefits, is an optional addition. Not a wine drinker? Substitute iced tea or water.
Don't forget the fish
Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If you haven't been a fish fan, start by trying mild-flavored mahi-mahi, cod or tilapia. Salmon is another popular choice. Add flavor with Mediterranean seasonings, such as thyme, oregano, basil, garlic or lemon juice.
Grapes with walnuts and sour cream sauce
Got a sweet tooth? No problem. For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Choose from a wide range of delicious fresh fruits — from fresh figs and oranges to pomegranates, grapes and apples. Try a twist on fruit salad by topping grapes with walnuts and a dollop of sweetened fat-free sour cream infused with lemon.