The Mediterranean Diet isn’t just one more fad to follow. It’s a healthy way of eating that can help everyone live a longer life and lower the risk of disease. It also oﬀers many nutritious ways to help women improve their lifelong health.
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and osteoporosis strikes thousands of women each year, it’s especially important to know which foods are heart-healthy and good for the bones. Choose food sources that contain important nutrients and get into the habit of eating a variety of foods every day. The Mediterranean Diet is far more eﬀective than crash diets or skipping meals for weight maintenance and healthy bodies.
Here are some important ways women can introduce Mediterranean ingredients into their diet:
- Follow the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid when selecting your weekly produce and be sure to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Choose a variety of greens, cucumbers, avocados, and sprouts for salads, plus peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, and summer squash to eat raw with hummus, or to sauté or stir fry for a quick and easy meal.
- Since women are at a greater risk than men for developing osteoporosis, the Mediterranean Diet is highly beneﬁcial since it features calcium-rich foods such as Greek yogurt, beans, broccoli, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts and collard greens.
- Another beneﬁt of the Mediterranean Diet is that it contains potassium-rich foods such as potatoes, greens, legumes and winter squash that support muscle development and lower blood pressure, which are especially important to women.
- Iron-rich foods such as lentils, spinach, almonds, lean red meat and dark meat poultry are good sources of iron, and important food choices for women who are at risk of developing iron-deﬁciency anemia.
- The Mediterranean Diet has been scientiﬁcally proven to be good for the heart. Start your day with whole grains such as oatmeal and beneﬁt from a ﬁber-rich food that can keep you feeling pleasantly full for hours as well as lower cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. Shop for fresh fruit and Greek yogurt to go with it.
- Fat isn’t something to avoid! In fact, you need healthy fats to reduce the risk of heart disease and enjoy vibrant skin, shiny hair, and strong ﬁngernails. And, healthy fat can help you feel full after a meal, reducing cravings and snack attacks. Plus, “good” fat promotes a healthy pregnancy and is important to your baby’s developing brain.
Healthy Fats, in Delicious Forms
Look for Mediterranean ingredients oﬀering healthy fats:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Rich in monounsaturated fats, it reduces the risk of heart disease and adds wonderful ﬂavor to everything it is drizzled over.
Fish: The Med Diet recommends two servings of ﬁsh per week. Salmon is especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease. If ﬁsh is new to you, buy small portions of mild-ﬂavored halibut or ﬂounder as an introduction.
Nuts: Nuts and peanuts are good sources of protein and ﬁber. Eat ¼ cup as a snack or use as a topping for yogurt, vegetables, or salads.
Olives: This low calorie snack contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, and natural anti-oxidants.