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7 Ways to Follow the Mediterranean Diet for Better Health

1. Cook with Olive Oil

If extra-virgin olive oil isn't your first cooking oil option, consider adding it to your rotation. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may improve HDL cholesterol, the "good" type of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol ferries "bad" LDL particles out of arteries

2. Eat More Fish

Fish is a welcome part of the Mediterranean diet. In particular, the diet emphasizes fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel. These fish are rich in heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Even fish that are leaner and have less fat (such as cod or tilapia) are still worth eating, as they provide a good source of protein

3. Eat Veggies All Day Long

If you look at your diet and worry that there's barely a green to be seen, this is the perfect opportunity to fit in more veggies. A good way to do this is to eat one serving at snack time—like crunching on bell pepper strips or throwing a handful of dark leafy greens into a smoothie—and one serving at dinner

4. Help Yourself to Whole Grains

Look for the term "whole" or "whole grain" on the food packaging and in the ingredient list—it should be listed first. If you still find it too hard to make the switch from your old refined favorites, phase in a whole grain by using whole-grain blends of pastas and rice or mixing a whole-grain half-and-half with a refined one .

5. Snack on Nuts

Nuts are another Mediterranean diet staple, and they provide an array of benefits. Grabbing a handful, whether that's almonds, cashews, peanuts or pecans, can make for a satisfying, on-the-go snack. 

6. Enjoy Fruit for Dessert

Generally a good source of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, fruits are a nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. If a touch of sweetness helps you eat more fruit, try drizzling slices of pear with honey or sprinkling a little brown sugar on grapefruit.