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10 Principles from the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle That Are Good for Your Heart

The Mediterranean Diet is the perfect blend of heart-healthy food full of flavor, easy to prepare, and has been prescribed as the "diet" to live a long and healthy life.

For years the Mediterranean culture has been studied and the verdict is out! Not only does the Mediterranean diet contribute to a decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease; but the Mediterranean lifestyle also plays a major role in one's quality of life and longevity. The Mediterranean lifestyle includes slowing down to enjoy and savor the food that is served, sharing meals as a family in both the preparation and while eating, and engaging in regular physical activity.

1) Increase physical activity. Walk more. Take the stairs. Sign up for a walk or run. The point is the more you move, the better it is for your heart. This is one key principle that people living the Mediterranean life do on a regular basis. 2) Eat mostly plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Focus on consuming more foods that are grown from the earth and reduce the intake of process and packaged foods. 3) Cook with plant-based fats. Use olive oil and canola oil for cooking and flavoring instead of butter and other foods high in saturated fats. 4) Flavor foods with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt. 5) Eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. 6) Get additional protein needs from poultry, eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, and legumes. 7) Limit intake of red meat to once a week or less. 8) Consume red wine in moderation (2 drinks per day for men, 1 drink per day for women). 9) Cook as a family and eat meals together. 10) Slow down and enjoy the flavors of the food you are eating.

The Mediterranean Diet is not at all about deprivation but eating foods that nourish the body while still providing pleasure at mealtime. Most importantly, the Mediterranean Diet is one of the easiest and healthiest plans to follow, not to mention one of the most fun plans to follow!

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