Diabetes Self-Management VideosWhat Is the Mediterranean Diet?

If you’re living with diabetes, you may have heard about the potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, from improving cardiovascular health to helping with diabetes control to lowering Alzheimer’s disease risk. In this “Healthy Living With Diabetes” video from Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian Alison Massey, get five top tips for trying a Mediterranean-style meal plan.

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What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Hi, I’m Alison Massey, Registered Dietician, Certified Diabetes Educator and Contributor to Diabetes Self-Management Magazine.

People often ask, “What is the best dietary pattern to follow?”.

Although diet should always be individualized to someone’s specific health needs and lifestyle, there is one dietary pattern that has been widely researched and consistently is recommended as one of the best patterns for eating for cardiovascular health. And that’s the Mediterranean meal pattern.

Because individuals with diabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, it is often a pattern of eating that I encourage my clients to learn more about.

What are the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean meal pattern has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and reduce markers for blood vessel inflammation.

So, what is the Mediterranean meal pattern?

The Mediterranean meal pattern is generally high in fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, garlic and fish. It is low in red meat, dairy, as well as sweets and desserts.

Mediterranean Diet Tips

Here are my tips for switching your dietary habits to a Mediterranean based meal pattern.

Tip #1 – Try to incorporate seafood at least two to three times a week. Fresh and frozen fish are great options when they are available. But don’t forget, can varieties of, also count.
Tip #2 – Increase beans and lentils to at least two to three times a week. Use beans to top salads or and beans and lentils to soups and stews.
Tip #3 – Add nuts and seeds to your diet at least three times a week. Add almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and even peanuts. Don’t forget a serving is about a quarter of a cup.
Tip #4 – Make produce the all star on your plate. Use the 50% rule. Try to make 50% of your meal produce based, either fruits, vegetables or both to naturally increase your produce consumption.
Tip #5 – Cook with olive oil. Add more olive oil to your eating pattern by using it in cooking, as well as, making your own salad dressings.

To learn more about the Mediterranean meal pattern, check out the resources on DiabetesSelfManagement.com and subscribe to Diabetes Self-Management Magazine.

 

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