In the past decade, scientists, doctors, nutritionists, and others have praised the Mediterranean diet for its health benefits. Food around the glimmering coastline is brimming with fresh fruits, nutrient-packed vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and lean meats.
Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet’s unique combination of nutrients, anti-inflammatory foods, and healthy fats alter the activity of gut microbes in a way that prevents heart disease and stroke.
Gut microbes are linked to chronic illnesses like atherosclerosis, obesity, and diabetes—suggesting that insights from the Mediterranean diet can help us find therapies for chronic diseases.
Harvard’s School of Public Health claims that eating foods consistent with the traditional Mediterranean diet, in conjunction with not smoking and exercising regularly, can help avoid over 80% of coronary heart disease cases, 70% of strokes, and 90% of type 2 diabetes diagnoses.
The best part about the Mediterranean diet? It doesn’t compromise flavor for health. It’s delicious, filling, and savory dishes are as satisfying as they are nutritious.
Fortunately, here in NYC, there are tons of ways to incorporate nutrient-rich and fulfilling ingredients from the Mediterranean into your diet.
1. Pile on Chickpeas
Chickpeas are at the heart of Mediterranean cuisine. Sprinkled on a salad, baked with salt, or blended into hummus (our favorite, of course), chickpeas offer immense health benefits.
Not just high in protein and fiber, chickpeas tout vital nutrients like zinc, iron, calcium, and folic acid. Studies show they can reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent colon cancer, and help manage diabetes. Chickpeas have also been proven to release serotonin, so eating them can actually make you feel happier!
2. Drizzle Olive Oil
Make olive oil your go-to base when sautéing—especially vegetables. Packed with mono-saturated fats (the good kind!) and antioxidants, studies show olive oil can prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol, and even help you lose weight.
3. Feast on Fresh Veggies
A traditional Mediterranean dish isn’t complete without a healthy heaping of fresh veggies. Full of leafy greens, juicy tomatoes, sharp onions, and crisp peppers, you’ll get your fill of vitamins, fiber, folic acid, antioxidants—the list goes on. There’s a reason your mother always told you to eat your vegetables.
4. Love Your Lentils
Lentils are yet another Mediterranean staple that’s high in health benefits and low in calories and fat. They’re known to lower cholesterol, improve heart health, stabilize blood sugar, and speed digestion.
Lentils contain the third-highest amount of protein among all legumes and nuts—keeping you full and energized all day long.
5. Dry Fruits and Nuts
Dried fruits and nuts are prevalent in Mediterranean food—and yes, they’re great for you, too. Full of mono-saturated fats and vitamins, nuts can improve cardiovascular health and help manage cholesterol.
Dried fruits are high in iron, which prevents anemia. They also contain fats that maintain cholesterol, vitamins that improve energy levels, and unsaturated fats that boost organ function.
Try experimenting with these ingredients yourself, or stop by one of our locations to try them in our New Authentic Mediterranean style!