Mediterranean diet is well-known for its benefits for the maintenance of heart, of reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of diabetes and control it, and most importantly, it may help prevent cancer. Every year Mediterranean diet falls first or second in the diet ranking list made by a panel of doctors and dieticians.
The main ingredients of a Mediterranean Diet include fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil, beans and whole grains and with water. Seafood is added to the diet once or twice a week, red meat and sweets are rarely included, and poultry, dairy and eggs are added occasionally.
You can add a Mediterranean touch to your diet by following ways:
- Use olive oil or canola oil as these oils promote the production of “good” cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the production of “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Usage of butter and fatty meats should be avoided.
- Monitor the intake of protein. Make vegetables and whole grains as the main protein sources. Treat meat as a side dish rather than as a central ingredient. Plant-based protein such as beans and nuts should substitute other sources of protein. Beans can be added to salads, soups, tacos, hot dishes or stews. Dips or spreads like hummus can be added alongside sandwiches and sliced vegetables. Nuts sprinkled on breakfast cereal is also good.
- Maximize addition of vegetables in your every meal. Half of your plate should contain vegetables. Whether you cook any stew or soup, double the number of vegetables in it. Add vegetables to pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. Use fruits and vegetables as snacks. Replace baked desserts with a good smoothie or grilled fruit.
- Whole grains like buckwheat, farro, millet, oats, rice, wheat berries, barley, polenta, whole grain couscous, pizza crust, and pasta should be used. Whole grain breads should be used, or oatmeal or yogurt topped with whole grain granola should be ingested in breakfast. Side dishes like creamy polenta and rice pilaf can be added.
- Lastly, use water as the main beverage.
Mediterranean diet is also associated with a Mediterranean lifestyle which emphasizes upon regular active exercise and social interaction. Together these two factors boost healthy benefits. Hence, following a Mediterranean diet along with active exercise could help prevent cancer because we are what we eat!