5 Healthy, Effective Diets

Mediterranean Diet

Who wouldn't want to spend time in the Greek Isles? While it sounds dreamy, you don't need to sail to Santorini to eat like you enjoy a beautiful Mediterranean life -- a life with a lower risk of heart disease, Parkinson's, cancer and Alzheimer's [source: Mayo Clinic].

Put the butter aside and reach for the extra-virgin olive oil. It tastes just as amazing on bread, on pasta and in your cooking. You'll have to cut down on the red meat, but in return, you can indulge in a moderate amount of red wine. And you don't have to go veggie -- you'll be grilling tuna, salmon or trout twice a week or so, because the omega-3s in those fatty fish will help ensure that your cardiovascular system stays clean and healthy.

Another easy switch? Swapping herbs and spices for salt for all the flavor with none of the sodium. A handful of nuts makes a good snack, and while they're full of fat, it's not the bad kind.

The basic idea is to eat lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds. And if you've ever tried tahini, a sesame-seed paste you can use as a spread, the seeds should not be a problem.

While you're savoring your smaller portions of herbed, olive-oil drizzled foods, remember that the people of the Mediterranean walk far more than those of us in most U.S. towns, so use it as inspiration for an after-dinner stroll.

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