Med Instead of Meds

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February is heart month and a great time to start thinking about a healthier way of living. The Med instead of Meds program is based on the Mediterranean-style eating pattern and has been shown to promote health and decrease risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease.

Studies show that eating the Med Way decreases the risk of some forms of cancer, is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss in overweight and obese individuals, protects against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, decreases the risk of macular degeneration, decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, helps manage blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as much as 30-60%. These are significant results, so what are you waiting for? There are 7 simple steps to eating the Med Way and they include:

  1. Change your protein – replace some of the meat in your diet with plant proteins such as beans, nuts and seeds; eat fish and seafood at least two to three times a week; choose white-meat poultry; limit red meat; and limit or eliminate processed meats.
  2. Swap your fats – choose olive oil; replace solid fats with olive or plant based oils Eat more vegetables – get at least three servings (three cups) of vegetables per day; choose a variety of colors; eat more dark green leafy vegetables.
  3. Eat more fruit – get at least two servings (two cups) of fruit per day; choose a variety of colors; include berries often.
  4. Snack on nuts and seeds – Choose at least three ounces of nuts and seed while keeping within your calorie budget; avoid candied, honey-roasted, and heavily salted nuts and seeds.
  5. Make your grains whole – eat grains as grains, choose whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and popcorn; look for “whole” in the first ingredient when choosing bread, pasta, and other grain-based foods.
  6. Rethink your sweets – limit your sugar intake; choose no more than three servings per week of high-sugar foods and drinks such as sugar-sweetened snacks, candies, desserts, or beverages.

Choose one of each of the 7 goals a week. Studies show that when you make small, simple changes you are more likely to stick with them. And remember, this is a lifestyle change not a diet. This is a way of eating for a lifetime of good health.

For more information contact Kim Terrell, Registered Dietitian and Family Consumer Science Agent, at 828-389-6305 or visit the Med instead of Meds website.