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Here are Five Easy Ways to Embrace A Mediterranean Lifestyle, Every Day

1. Dine al fresco with family and friends.

People who share meals with friends and family tend to be both mentally and physically healthier. Take advantage of the great weather and enjoy the meal outdoors!
  • Use a tablecloth and real dishes as opposed to disposable. The meal will feel more special.
  • Keep it simple. Pasta salads make for an easy, delicious, and healthy al fresco meal.
  • Light candles. It's the perfect way to create instant ambiance for even the most spontaneous meals.

2. Eat food that is healthy and tastes delicious.

It's a myth that healthy food is bland. The Mediterranean diet is healthy and full of delicious flavors and textures, so there's never any reason to feel deprived.
  • Focus on plant-based foods. Pasta, rice, vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts are the staples of a Mediterranean diet, which can lower risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Include 1 to 3 intense flavors like parmesan, sundried tomatoes, and olives with milder flavors like pasta and fresh vegetables for a dish that tastes light yet satisfying.
  • Try new recipes until you find what you love.
  • Eat produce seasonally to enjoy flavors and textures at their peak.

3. Take a leisurely stroll in the sun.

Putting on your sunglasses and taking a walk outside gives you perspective and refreshes your mind and body. Though many of us have desk jobs that require sitting all day, we can still benefit from getting outside.
  • Walk during your break. Even 15 minutes decreases your chances of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Every 20 minutes, get up from your desk and stand or walk for 2 minutes. This small effort has profound effects on your weight and brain.

4. Take a pisolino.

While our nine-to-five lifestyle doesn't allow for a long afternoon break, there are ways to bring a little peace to your everyday routine:
  • Plan your workflow. Save the least stressful items on your agenda for the afternoon.
  • Create a mini pisolino, the Italian version of a siesta. Close your eyes (for just a moment) and take a few long, deep breaths to help achieve a relaxed state of mind. Even sitting or lying quietly for five to 10 minutes can reduce stress and lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Relax on the weekends. We're so busy during the week, weekends are the perfect time to unwind. Spend time with family, read a book or try yoga.

5. Pour yourself a glass of wine.

Part of the secret to living well is to create healthy habits rather than strict rules that keep you from enjoying life. Try to use the mindset of "everything in moderation" and allow yourself to splurge in an appropriate manner.
  • Chocolate. A 2011 Swedish study found that chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can decrease the risk of stoke. Other findings have shown that regular chocolate lovers take care of their hearts with benefits like lower blood pressure, lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. This is delicious news, indeed.
  • Red Wine. You knew it boosts your spirits, but what else can it do? The antioxidants in red wine may help protect your heart by raising levels of "good" cholesterol and preventing artery damage. The good news doesn't stop there. Moderate drinking has been shown to contribute to better brain function and a longer life. Cheers to that!