Slager: Road to a healthy lifestyle begins with a single, simple step

Carol Slager

With all the information concerning food, one of the biggest questions is, “What is the best diet for me?” Some options are restrictive, complicated, unappealing and, frankly, don’t bring about the desired results.

The Mediterranean-style of eating, on the other hand, is tasty, realistic and sustainable. It helps with weight loss or maintenance and reduces disease-causing inflammation. This “diet” is the most recommended way by nutrition experts and most major scientific organizations to prevent major chronic diseases.

Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet:

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, metabolic complications, dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Prevents or treats Type 2 diabetes
  • Helps you destress and relax
  • Can help fight depression and improve mood

According to the Harvard School of Public Health: “Together with regular physical activity and not smoking, our analyses suggest that over 80% of coronary heart disease, 70% of stroke, and 90% of Type-2 diabetes can be avoided by healthy food choices that are consistent with the traditional Mediterranean diet.”

The Mediterranean diet comes primarily from the regions around southern Italy, Greece, Turkey and Spain. It is a way of life that promotes health and longevity.

This diet is comprised of:

  • Mostly plant-based foods such as legumes, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains
  • Wild-caught fish and seafood twice a week
  • Herbs and spices
  • Olive oil
  • Plenty of water and some coffee and tea
  • High-quality, pasture-raised poultry, eggs, cheese, goat milk, and probiotic-rich kefir or yogurt, in moderation
  • Red meat limited to about once a week
  • Red wine in moderation (optional, depending on health history).

Top this off by enjoying meals with family and friends and getting plenty of exercise.

Health experts favor this diet because the foundation of plant-based foods and healthy fats is anti-inflammatory, thereby reducing the potential for chronic disease.

Carol Slager is a licensed pharmacist, author, blogger and health coach in Northwest Indiana. Follow her monthly in Get Healthy and at inkwellcoaching.com.