Neighborhood barbecues. Family picnics. Holiday celebrations. The feasting, fireworks and fun of summer are in full swing. As you take in the festivities, are you also taking in foods that will keep your body healthy and youthful? Before your next BBQ, consider what healthy items you could include from a Mediterranean diet shopping list.
In the U.S., our summer picnics usually consist of grilled burgers, brats and hot dogs, accompanied by potato salads and, of course, ice cream for dessert. If you travelled to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in countries such as Greece and Italy, you’d find a much different menu. There, the normal diet is filled with fruits, vegetables, fish and whole-grain breads.
This emphasis on a nutritious selection of foods makes the Mediterranean diet one of the healthiest choices. Research has shown it offers a plethora of benefits:
Reduces the risk of heart disease:
Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular mortality. This is due to the lower level of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) that builds up in arteries and causes heart disease and heart attacks.
Reduces the risk of cancer:
Eating these foods which are rich in anti-aging vitamins and natural extracts gives your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Packed with so much nourishment, it’s really no surprise that the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced incidents of cancer.
Reduces the risk of wrinkles:
A Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. These powerful ingredients protect against the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which keep your skin strong and smooth. By blocking this damage, you experience less sagging and fewer wrinkles in your future.
The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn’t to limit total fat consumption, but to make good choices in the types of fat you eat. The key to a good Mediterranean diet shopping list is to exclude saturated fats and hydrogenated oils. Basically, it’s not about reducing your food intake, but taking in the right foods to get the nourishment you need.
To start enjoying these benefits, simply replace your traditional picnic foods with those from a Mediterranean diet shopping list. As you begin to incorporate more and more of the Mediterranean diet in your habits, you will reap the rewards of a healthy heart and vibrant skin.
The Mediterranean Diet Shopping List
For your next holiday hoopla, consider skipping American fare and pick up the following items from a Mediterranean diet shopping list. They are sure to be a hit at the BBQ, and will definitely be a hit with your heart and skin.
This is a staple for any Mediterranean diet shopping list. Rich in nutrients, artichokes are a versatile food you can use to create a delicious dish for your next picnic. Use them as the base for salad instead of plain lettuce. Cucumbers and peppers are perfect pairings to add flavor and nutrients. Rather than drench with fattening dressing, use extra virgin olive oil and oregano to season. Or, create a tasty pasta salad with a combination of artichoke hearts, peas, multigrain pasta and olive oil.
Did you know your grill cooks things other than red meat? Why not throw some tasty fish fillets on the grill for the next picnic? Salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are great choices. Regular items on the Mediterranean diet shopping list, these fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats are the ones your body needs to function well and to help you look and feel your best.
Fun to eat and healthy, too, kabobs allow you to easily incorporate many items from your Mediterranean diet shopping list. Skewer a delicious combination of olives, tomatoes, onions and peppers and heat over the open flame. Olives are a central component of the Mediterranean diet and offer extracts that decrease tissue damage and boost your immune system. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants which block chemical reactions that lead to sun damage. A kabob packed with Mediterranean-based veggies is an excellent choice for the main course or a healthy side.
Rather than munch on potato chips or candy, add a bowl of nuts to your table. Almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts and pistachios are all great options for your Mediterranean diet shopping list. Pecans reduce LDL cholesterol to boost heart health. Walnuts are an ideal source of polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic and antiallergic properties. Loaded with the right kind of fats, nuts are integral to the Mediterranean diet.
One of the healthiest fruits on the planet, pomegranates are a perfect addition to your next pot-luck picnic. You can easily incorporate them into many recipes. Add them to a salad, use them for salsa or eat the seeds as a snack. For an extremely simple solution, try pomegranate juice. Substitute this powerhouse for your typical lemonade and reap the benefits. Pomegranates increase skin hydration, decrease skin breakouts, provide environmental protection and boost collagen production. As you gulp down this juice during your BBQ, you’ll protect your skin from the sun and from future wrinkles.
Fruit with yogurt:
Ice cream and summer often go hand-in-hand. However, this isn’t the only option for dessert. Rather than the usual unhealthy cone or sundae, why not try something from the Mediterranean diet shopping list? Fruits such as strawberries and grapes provide the flavor your sweet tooth might be craving, and they deliver the essential vitamins your body needs. Yogurt adds the cool, smooth texture of a fun dessert treat, while delivering antioxidants for a healthy body.
Whatever you decide to make for your next outdoor gathering, keep in mind two essentials for your Mediterranean diet shopping list. 1) Rather than drench your food in butter, use healthy fats such as canola oil and olive oil. 2) Skip the salt and flavor your dish with herbs and spices instead.
A Complete List
As you make the switch to these healthy Mediterranean options, consider supplementing to ensure you get the vitamins, proteins and natural extracts you need. Complete your Mediterranean diet shopping list with a beauty concentrate supplement inspired by the Mediterranean diet. This professional blend of vitamins and antioxidants will renew your skin from the inside out. You’ll finish out the summer enjoying delicious foods, looking young and vibrant, and feeling your best.