What better way to feel like you’re vacationing in a charming village on the coast of Italy than by indulging in some wonderful, Mediterranean-inspired food? For ages peoples living in Greece, Italy, and the Middle East have enjoyed some of the best bounty the region has to offer, with diets primarily based on veggies, fruits, and other plant foods (like cereals, seeds, nuts and legumes). Eggs and dairy products are less common, and fish is preferred over red meats.

I know what it seems like—there’s always some crazy new diet that claims to be the next best thing to happen to the average diner. In a period where we increasingly depend on outside authorities to decide what we should put on our plates, how do we weed out the good advice? Is the “Med” diet just a fad, or is it actually worth something?

A ton of studies show that the MD, which is low in saturated and trans fats (the solid and artificial kinds that clog your arteries) and high in fiber and essential nutrients, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity and diabetes. Instead it promotes heart health, weight control, and might even be associated with cancer prevention.

Here are ways to include some Mediterranean sun into your eating habits

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