Want to live to be as old as Plato and look like a Greek god?
Our friends along the coast the Mediterranean coasts have kept a few secrets from you.
But no longer.
Eat the Mediterranean diet, research says, and you'll be lowering your risk of all sorts of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer's. Bon app
Savor the Flavor
No matter how healthy your diet, it's all for nothing if you overeat. Eating slowly will help you to savor the flavors - and make it easier to do what we all hate to do: Skip the seconds and practice portion control.
Nuts to You
You might be surprised to hear that nuts and nut butters are on the Mediterranean menu. After all, nuts are high in fat. But it's mostly the unsaturated kind, which is less harmful than the saturated fat in meat in dairy products. Eat nuts sparingly, though, to avoid the calorie hit - and hold off on honey-roasted or salted nuts and peanut butter with sugar and hydrogenated oil.
Fresh Fruit Every Day
Does the only fruit you eat come inside a pie? To eat the Mediterranean way, you need to switch from sugary, highly processed fruits to fresh, seasonal fruit.
Wine Is Molto Bene
In southern Italy, no meal is complete without a nice glass of Montepulciano or another red wine. And red wine in moderation has been linked to longevity and other health benefits. One glass a day for women and up to two glasses a day for men is the general rule. Can't drink, or don't like wine? Don't worry. The Mayo Clinic says wine is an optional part of the Mediterranean diet. Red grape juice is beneficial too.
Where's the Beef?
Instead of red meat, the Mediterranean diet focuses on fish - especially fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring. But grill, don't fry. Chicken is another good red meat alternative. If you do serve red meat, keep portions small.
Whole-grain products, including brown rice instead of white and whole-wheat bread and pasta, are way healthier than their enriched-flour counterparts. And they're more filling, too. Still not convinced whole grain is the way to go? Foods made with whole grains taste better too.
Shake the Salt Habit
Got salt? Leave it in the shaker. Greek and Italian chefs season dishes with fresh herbs and spice instead of salt, which can raise blood pressure. Herbal seasonings make food flavorful without the hit to your health. Chives, parsley and basil are just a few of some of the fresh herbs that can actually give your dish a vitamin boost.
Banish the Butter
Greeks and Italians love their bread just as much as Americans do, but they don't slather it with butter. They dip it in olive oil, which is chockablock with healthy monounsaturated fat. They also cook with olive oil instead of butter which is rich is not-so-heart healthy saturated fat. As a bonus, pure olive oil is rich in vitamins and iron.
Vegetables Take Center Stage
For many Americans, vegetables are a soggy side dish. In Greek and Italian cuisine, veggies play a starring role. Saut
Don't Eat Alone
With the Mediterranean diet, whom you eat your meals with matters just as much as what you eat. And if you're eating with Judge Judy or the cast of The Real Housewives, you should know there are better options. Ever hear of family and friends? The ritual of the shared meal is not only one of life's great pleasures, but also a way to keep you from wolfing down your food.