Are you looking for a eating pattern that can improve your overall health and can be a long-term lifestyle choice? Well, the Mediterranean diet may be the perfect meal plan for you.

Mediterranean meals are made up of mostly plant-based foods. This includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, beans, whole grains and nuts. When you are eating a Mediterranean diet, try to make your plate as colorful as possible to get the most nutrients. Make your plate look like a rainbow with different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Eating plant-based foods can fuel your body with lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. These are all nutrients that can help protect your body against harmful diseases like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Another component of the Mediterranean lifestyle is eating healthy fats. Fatty fish, nuts and olive oil are the main sources of fats in the Mediterranean lifestyle. Olive oil and nuts have monounsaturated fat, which may help lower total cholesterol and LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a healthy meal plan. Fatty fish like mackerel, tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat. Omega-3s may be able to help lower triglyceride levels and help lower the risk of heart disease.

Foods like dairy, poultry and eggs are enjoyed in moderate amounts on the Mediterranean lifestyle. For the most part, nonfat or low-fat dairy products are recommended. Examples include Greek yogurt, low-fat mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, or low-fat milk. When choosing meats, leaner meats like chicken, turkey or fish more often is recommended, with red meats eaten less often. 

Lastly, the Mediterranean lifestyle is not like other diets, where you probably stick to it for a few months, then give up. This eating pattern is sustainable, healthy, and can be a lifestyle choice for years to come.

It’s not just about what you eat, it’s how you eat. Enjoying meals together with family and friends is a significant part of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Eat meals at a table. Engage in conversation. Go Mediterranean with those you love to stay happy and healthy.

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