Cruising the Mediterranean for a Healthy Diet

If you have ever been to the Mediterranean countries, you have an idea about the rich history and abundance of healthy, delicious food that is served nearly for every meal. It should come as no surprise, then, that this area of the world is also one of the healthiest, due in part to the diet those living in the area mostly adhere to. Scientists have long examined what makes this diet so effective at warding off bad health*.

The cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet is a strong focus on vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes. These are found in nearly every meal in some shape or fashion. Also commonly found in Mediterranean food is the ubiquitous olive oil, as well as grains, herbs, seeds, and spices.

After that, fish and seafood are most often found. It makes sense, too, as the Mediterranean civilizations have long since turned to the abundance of seafood found in the area. From shellfish like mussels and shrimp to fresh fish like cod, seafood plays an important role in the Mediterranean diet, and more often than not, it is the protein that appears on the plate. If not seafood, then more than likely poultry, eggs, cheese or yogurt.

Compare that to Western diets, which typically have a greater focus on starches, carbohydrates and red meats, and researchers begin to see a pattern as to why more people in the Mediterranean live healthy and happy lives. In fact, the latest research from PREDIMED indicates that the Mediterranean diet, when adopted wholly, has promise to help manage metabolic syndromes especially among those with high cardiovascular risk, central obesity, and hyperglycemia. Researchers pointed to the Mediterranean diet’s high content of “minerals, polyphenols, and other phytochemicals that combat oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance,” according to Dr. Salas-Salvado, who conducted the study.

Research is beginning to show the importance of dieting. In fact, meeting with a doctor to discuss certain conditions, your diet might be brought up. What does your usual meal schedule look like? What kind of foods do you eat the most? Do you think you would enjoy the Mediterranean diet?

*Note: there are many other factors that go into the health of Mediterranean people other than simply their diet. This blog post is in no way claiming that switching to the Mediterranean will improve your health, merely stating results shown in clinical studies.


Quick and Healthy Turkey Soup

This quick healthy turkey soup is a cinch to make and is perfect for those rainy days.


2 c. skinless white turkey meat, cooked

3 c. water

½ c. celery, diced

1 ½ c. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

14 ½ oz. low-sodium chicken broth

1 c. elbow macaroni, uncooked

½ tsp. pepper

1 tsp. poultry seasoning (or any mixture of thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg)


In a medium saucepan, combine turkey, water, celery, vegetables, broth, poultry seasoning and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil. Add macaroni and reduce heat to low. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender.


Yield: 8 servings. Each serving provides 125 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 13g protein and 125 mg sodium.



Baked Spicy Cod

Serve this tasty entrée with brown rice and vegetables for an easy, balanced meal. Makes 4 servings (140 calories each).

1 lb. cod fillets1/8 tsp. ground oregano
1/8 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. lemon juice
1½ tsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate fish into four fillets or pieces. Place fish in ungreased, 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Combine paprika, garlic and onion powder, pepper, oregano and thyme in a small bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice and seasoning mixture evenly over fish. Drizzle margarine evenly over fish. Bake 20-25 minutes (until fish flakes easily with fork).