GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

January 9, 2013

A pasta supper with a sweet ending

Lighten up with colored fruits, vegetables and omega-3 rich fish

The Mediterranean diet has long been considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet — and rightfully so.

For thousands of years, residents along the Mediterranean coast have enjoyed the delicious diet, while participating in physical exercise of their choice. They don’t think of their eating habits as a diet plan; it’s simply a way of life.

Research continues to show that the Mediterranean diet is a great plan for a long, healthy life. It is an excellent, enjoyable lifestyle plan that is easy to follow, flexible, and — best of all — good for you. And you don’t need to live along the Mediterranean. Whether you live in Alaska, Maine, or somewhere in between, you don’t need to travel any farther than your local supermarket to find everything you need to bring the Mediterranean Diet to your own table. Even if you don’t completely follow the diet to the letter, simply eating more of the foods on the plan, and being more active couldn’t be better health goals. We can thank the cultures and countries that surround the Mediterranean for giving us the delicious flavors, traditions, and fresh foods that make up this healthy lifestyle.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

There is no single Mediterranean diet. Instead, across Europe, from Spain to the Middle East, each culture customizes the basic food plan to take into consideration local food availability and their personal and regional preferences.

What is similar within each region is a reliance on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, olives, and olive oil, along with some cheese, yogurt, poultry, eggs, and wine, with fish and seafood a huge priority. Most foods are fresh and seasonal; they’re not processed. Preparation tends to be simple; foods are rarely deep-fried.

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