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Going Med Works Wonders

By Eleanor Frederick, Lifestyle Coach and NC Cooperative Extension Agent


Many studies prove that the Mediterranean way of eating can help to prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes[1], heart disease[2], and even Alzheimer’s[3]. For some people, eating the “Med Way” can result in decreased medications taken for diabetes[4], high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You should always consult your doctor before changing any prescribed medications, but it is worth a shot to see how simple changes in the way you eat can affect your overall health.

Here are 7 Simple Steps to Eating the Med Way:

1. Change your protein

   a. Replace some of the meat in your diet with plant proteins (beans, nuts, and seeds)

    b. When eating meat, choose white meat poultry or lean red meat

    c. Eat fish and seafood once or twice a week. It doesn’t have to be expensive fish, canned will do!

2. Swap your fats

    a. Limit solid fats (saturated fats) like butter and replace with olive oil or canola oil (unsaturated fats)

    b. Use olive oil for cooking, in salad dressings, and in marinades

3. Eat more vegetables

   a. Get at least 3 servings (3 cups) of vegetables each day

    b. Eat a variety of colors and choose more dark leafy greens like collards, kale, spinach, chard, and turnip greens

4. Eat more fruit

    a. Get at least 2 servings (2 cups) of fruit each day

   b. Eat a variety of colors and choose berries often (or at least when they are in season and more affordable!)

5. Snack on nuts and seeds

    a. Have at least 3 small handfuls of nuts and seeds per week

    b. Stick with roasted and unsalted (or lightly salted) nuts and seeds

6. Make your grains whole

    a. Choose whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and (yes!) popcorn

    b. Check to make sure “whole grain/wheat” is the first ingredient on the ingredient list when choosing grain-based foods like bread         and pasta (if you see “enriched wheat”, that’s not a whole grain)

7. Rethink your sweets

    a. Limit your added sugar intake

    b. Try to limit high-sugar foods like sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts, and snacks to 3 servings per week

To learn more about eating the “Med Way” or for questions about how Life in 24 can help you reach your eating goals, contact us!


[1] Salas-Salvado, J., et al. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes With the Mediterranean Diet: Results of the PREDIMED-Reus nutrition intervention randomized trial.Diabetes Care, 2011.

[2] Estruch, R., et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2013.


[4] Esposito, K., et al. Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on the Need for Antihyperglycemic Drug Therapy in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes.Annals of Internal Medicine, 2009.