3. Eat a bit of cheese, but do consider sheep or goat
Calcium is important for bone and heart health, and a great source is cheese and yoghurt. It’s worth noting that many of the traditional Mediterranean cheeses are not made from cows’ milk.
Many of traditional Mediterranean cheeses come from the milk of sheep, like Halloumi (also a little goat milk), Feta, Manchego, Ricotta, Roquefort, Pecorino (which actually means ‘from sheep’)…
The cheeses the original subjects of the 1950s study that discovered the Med diet was so healthy, they ate cheese often, and it would have been mostly goat or sheep.
It’s thought that because goat and sheep cheese contain Medium chain rather than long chain fatty acids, they can be advantageous to weight loss, as they are more easily soluble in water
4.Eat fresh fish at least twice a week
Your fish should preferably be oily: the low incidence of several killer diseases among Eskimos has been attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – most often referred to as Omega 3 – in the Eskimo diet.
Examples of oily fish – salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, anchovies, tuna. You can grill, roast bake or pan fry oily fish, so they’re highly versatile
5. Go wholegrain, the whole time
Refined carbs should be replaced as far as you can. Carbs are fine, but it’s the type of carbohydrate that’s most important, much more important than simply looking at the calorie content. Essentially, processing and refining removes fibre content, which we all need as it helps us feel full and maintains blood sugar levels, as well as reducing the risk of cardio-metabolic problems.
6. Have red meat occasionally, if you really must
This study into Red Meat Consumption and Mortality examines over 100,000 people and 23,926 deaths. It suggests that daily red meat eaters and particularly, those eating processed red meat, are at greater risk.
The same study “estimated that substitutions of 1 serving per day of other foods (including fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy, and whole grains) for 1 serving per day of red meat were associated with a 7% to 19% lower mortality risk.”
7. Keep an eye on what vegetables are in season
Eating seasonally is the backbone of the Mediterranean diet. Traditionally there would have been times when they had more of the certain fruit or vegetable than they could ever eat, and at other times they simply weren’t available.
Modern life doesn’t quite work that way anymore, but it’s the natural way, how things were meant to be. Shopping with a seasonality mentality will help you ‘eat a rainbow,’ and not just eat the same old vegetables all year round. Your taste buds will thank you for it. As well the rest of your body.
8. Fill your cupboard with spices and your window sills with fresh herbs
Herbs and spices are rich not just with flavours but with antioxidants too. Not only will they make your dishes interesting, keeping your taste buds happy to eat healthy day-in-day out, but they are full of antioxidants in their own right.
Get a store cupboard going with a host of Mediterranean herbs and spices, and mix it up.
Looking for inspiration?
Anise, basil, bay, Chermoula, chilli, coriander, cloves, cumin, fennel, garlic, Harissa, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, sumac, tarragon, thyme, Ras El Hanout, Verbena Harissa, Zahter, za’atar.