Mediterranean-style breakfast a healthy boost to your day

Start the day with the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, healthy fats — and you’re doing it right.

Eating a Mediterranean-style breakfast is not only nourishing and satisfying, it’s important for health, performance, mindset and the environment.

The Med-style diet is recommended by many health organizations, including the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. It’s also one of the easiest and most versatile ways of making breakfast a meal you won’t want to miss.

Following a Med-style dietary pattern is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, metabolic syndrome and mental health disorders, like depression and cognitive decline, according to a 2019 study in the journal Nutrients.

It’s healthy for the planet too, according to a 2018 study in the Spanish journal Nutricion Hospitalaria, which found that the Med-style diet is environmentally friendly.

Skipping breakfast is common among American adults, and though evidence is limited on the health risk and benefits, research has shown that this is associated with an increase in risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Based on the traditional diets of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece, Italy and Turkey, the Med-style diet has different versions, which makes it so easy to personalize. Mostly plant-based, it includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, olive oil, fish and seafood and smaller amounts of lean animal protein, like poultry. It doesn’t have rules for portion size but offers guidance to include nutrient-rich, health-promoting foods.

A Med-inspired breakfast can be sweet or savory, geographically authentic or traditional American fare with a fun twist. If you’re an oatmeal lover, add sliced fruit, nuts and a dollop of Greek yogurt, and you’ve got a Med-approved breakfast.

Or top a slice of whole-grain toast with avocado, tomato or spinach.

Ethnic options include Israeli shakshuka, a skillet casserole with eggs, tomatoes, onions and peppers, or an Italian egg and vegetable frittata.

The combinations are endless. Whether your breakfast is on the fly or leisurely, adventuresome or routine, the Med diet can help you kick off the day with good health and good food.

Environmental Nutrition is a newsletter written by experts on health and nutrition.

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