It is commonly said that eating a healthy diet leads to better health and a longer life without disease, but we must stop at an important fact that it all depends on the individual needs of each person, as each person reacts differently to the same foods.

Therefore, a doctor must first be consulted before making the decision to follow a specific diet, and if there is encouragement and the doctor does not put any caveats, then the diet, which has gained popularity in recent years, and which comes on top of the nominations is the Mediterranean diet. In fact, the Mediterranean diet was recently named the #1 best diet for the fourth year in a row, according to CNBC citing its annual US News & World Report list.

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by the fact that it includes meals that are high in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and whole grains, as well as moderate amounts of protein and animal fats. Scientific research indicates that the raw foods in this diet can help ward off chronic disease and improve health, as well as other studies on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the brain.

The 5 most important meals of the Mediterranean diet:

1. Oats

Oats help improve the functioning of the digestive system and intestines thanks to the fibers that also protect the body from carcinogens.

Gluten-free whole grains are a great source of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When cooked slowly, they are a well-balanced source of fats, carbohydrates and plant-based protein, along with good doses of iron and B vitamins.

In a study last year, researchers found that a higher intake of fiber led to a lower rate of death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The American Heart Association recommends a total dietary fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams per day (from food, not from supplements).

2. Virgin olive oil

Many nutritionists and health experts recommend extra virgin olive oil as the first choice.

Extra virgin olive oil contains mainly monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic acid, along with high amounts of antioxidants — both of which researchers say can help reduce biomarkers of inflammation.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that individuals who consumed half a tablespoon or more of extra virgin olive oil per day had a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 18% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Replacing five grams per day of other fats such as butter with olive oil also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease by 5% to 7%.

3. Fish

Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and herring contain high amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which research has shown can improve cardiovascular health.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat two servings of fish — especially the fatty kind — per week. But the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises children and pregnant women to avoid eating fish with the potential for the highest level of mercury contamination, such as shark, swordfish and tilefish.

4. Leafy vegetables

The Mediterranean diet is based on a variety of leafy vegetables, which provide the body with essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin K, iron, calcium and potassium.

The body needs an amount of vegetables ranging from one to three cups a day, depending on age, gender and level of physical activity. And of course, the fresh salad contains a variety of green leafy vegetables and gives a mixture of nutrients and flavor.

5. Raspberries and strawberries

Although the Mediterranean diet includes a number of essential fruits, berries – especially blueberries and strawberries – rank high on the list of favorite fruits due to their rich levels of antioxidants

Berries also contain a lot of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, which research suggests confer many benefits on the body, including lowering blood pressure and making blood vessels more flexible.

One cup of whole strawberries can provide nearly 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.

Dr. Lauren Armstrong, an American nutritionist, says she usually starts her day with blueberries in yogurt, cereal or oatmeal

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