Keeping Healthy: The Mediterranean Diet

"The Mediterranean Diet is not just a diet, but a lifestyle."

Health and wellness expert Pat Salzer says this lifestyle, based off of the eating habits of those on what else, but the Mediterranean coast - includes eating whole, non-processed foods, leisurely, and incorporating physical activity.  It's actually been around for a long time.  Salzer said the diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, beans, and olive oil.  That means consuming less meat, high fat dairy products, and sugar.

"We know with the Mediterranean Diet it helps to lower our risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, of dementia, [and] depression," says Salzer. "With a lot of those foods, the plant based foods, there's a lot of photo-chemicals in them, that are so healthy for us, there's omega 3 fatty acids in the flax seed and high fat seafood products."

And while the "diet" consists of eating some higher caloric and fattier foods than other recommended diets, Salzer says studies have shown a better, healthier lipid profile after people have chosen this lifestyle.

"With some of the products that are considered low fat, the fat may be taken out or reduced but there tends to be more sugar in those foods, so often the calorie content is the same."

But beware - switching out a giant slab of butter and soaking your bread in olive oil instead isn't necessarily better. Salzer reminds us, everything in moderation is key.

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