Harvard Men's Health Watch

Mediterranean diet quick start

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Follow these simple steps to adopt a proven nutrition strategy and begin to reap its heart-healthy benefits.

The traditional Mediterranean "diet" is not a specific meal plan or a method for losing weight. It is a health-promoting dietary pattern that emphasizes extra-virgin olive oil, whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish. If you are not eating Mediterranean now, how do you get started and reap its benefits?

"Start by incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet," says Dr. Helen Delichatsios, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Also, take your time easing into the Mediterranean diet's reliance on healthy plant oils, which may come as a bit of a shock to some American intestines. Using more olive oil in cooking and using liberal amounts in salad dressings are simple starter moves.

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