When you hear the term “Going Med”, what do you think it means? This term is in reference to following the Mediterranean Diet, which has shown an impact on the prevention and management of several chronic diseases. It’s a way of eating that comes from the foods available and consumed by those living in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.  The combinations of the foods available in the environment paired with physical activity lends this to be recognized as a healthy lifestyle to follow. The health impacts have included improvements in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.  Not following a healthy eating plan can lead to a domino effect. The less mobile and sedentary we are, obesity can occur which is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. There can also be an increase in inflammation and a chance for high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are an important factor in keeping you in control. There are 7 steps to eating the Med Way. First, change your protein. This means limiting or eliminating highly-processed meats, limiting beef, pork, and lamb, choosing white meat poultry, and increasing fish, seafood, beans, nuts, and seeds. Second, swap your fats. This means replacing solid fats such as butter with olive oil. This is the main source of fat when following this eating plan. The third and fourth are to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is the core of providing your body with so many valuable vitamins and minerals that support health and prevent chronic diseases. Choose at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day that are varied in color. Fifth, choose more plant-based options by snacking on nuts and seeds. You can achieve this by choosing at least three ounces of nuts and seeds per week and avoiding any candied or honey-roasted. Sixth, make your grain whole grains. Whole grains provide all three parts of the grain, the bran, germ, and endosperm. This provides protein, B Vitamins, and other valuable vitamins and minerals to carry out daily functions. Look for whole listed before the type of grain in the ingredient list for whole grain. Examples include oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, quinoa, buckwheat, and wild rice. Finally, rethink your sweets. This is limiting the amount of foods with added sugars such as sugar-sweetened snacks, desserts, and beverages to no more than three servings per week. Take steps each day to make positive contributions towards your health, the foods we consume and how active we are matter. The Mediterranean diet can be a pathway to a healthier you!
by Lori Johnson
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.
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