Vegetables – No Mediterranean meal is complete without vegetables. They are folded into pasta, stews, and sauces. Veggies have disease fighting compounds.
Household staples: tomatoes (canned or fresh, paste and sun dried), onions, garlic, fresh lemon, and a range of herbs and spices
Whole Grains are a leading ingredient in this diet. They stretch seasonal vegetables, cheeses and fish into a cohesive meal. Think of grain salads, such as tabbouleh, which is made with bulghur wheat and herbs.
Household staple: pasta, bulghur, farro, whole grain crackers
Fruits are not just an add on, or snack in the Mediterranean diet, they are added to cooking. Fruits are eaten fresh, dried, baked and grilled. Those who eat at least five ounces of fruit a day, as in the Mediterranean diet, are 15 percent less likely to have macular degeneration.
Household Staple: dried fruit such as apricots, figs, raisins, prunes and cherries.
Nuts & Seeds are consumed in different forms, not just as a snack. They are crushed into breadcrumbs, mixed into grains and blended into bread. Eating six servings of nuts a week decreases the risk of heart disease by 25% and cancer risk by 19%.
Household staple: raw or roasted walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, sesame seeds and tahini paste.
Eating with Friends is a lifestyle among Mediterranean people. Meals are eaten slowly, with friends and family. No TV, no phone, no iPad. Having a pleasant eating experience makes for a healthier life. People who don’t watch TV while eating are 37% less likely to be severely overweight.
Source: Cooking Light, November 2017.