Food Pyramid Goes Mediterranean

In recent years, Mediterranean cuisine has been credited for lower rates of cancer and heart disease — as well as longevity of the region’s residents. A look at the Mediterranean Food Pyramid compared to the USDA version helps explain why:

While the overall fat intake is higher (40% compared to 30% in the USDA food pyramid), olive oil is the primary source. Along with canola and peanut oils, it’s considered less harmful than the saturated and trans-fats in butter and margarine.

Red meat takes a back seat. Emphasis is instead on fish, nuts, and legumes for leaner, healthier protein.

Red wine is recommended in moderation. Rich in antioxidants, it’s a daily feature on many Mediterranean tables. Red grape juice is a healthy alternative for children, pregnant women, and others wanting a nonalcoholic substitute.

While the jury is still out on whether the Mediterranean way of eating is as heart smart as some sources claim, incorporating some of its features certainly can’t hurt.

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