Eat like Penélope Cruz with the healthy Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is more of a delicious lifestyle than a 'diet'

Something holds very true, the moment we hear the word "diet" or "dieta," we almost automatically internally scream at the thought of having to give up the foods that we love (here's looking at you pizza and tequeños).

But, when you really think about it (Google it really), all the word diet truly means is the particular foods that we habitually eat. So the way we eat doesn't have to equate to restricting practices or depriving ourselves of the occassional roll of sushi.

Something that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides actress Penélope Cruz knows very well with her Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet©GrosbyGroup
The Mediterranean Diet uses a lot of natural and healthy elements in its cooking

“The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea,” explains Mayo Clinic.

Not only that, but red wine is included within the options of things you can indulge in on the Mediterranean diet (can you say 'sold?'). The Vicky Cristina Barcelona actress is all in on the Mediterranean diet because it makes her feel like she is at home whenever she is away.

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“I love Spanish food. My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food. I eat well, but I try to eat healthily,” the actress shared with The Daily Mirror back in 2011.

The Mediterranean Diet is what is used to describe the elements in the foods eaten in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea in Europe

What are the key elements that make up the Mediterranean Diet? The Mayo Clinic emphasizes that to have a comprehensive Mediterranean Diet the following factors must be included.

- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts

- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil

- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor food

- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month

- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

- Enjoying meals with family and friends

- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

- Getting plenty of exercise

Taking up this diet feels a lot like a trip through Spain, Greece and Italy! To really get the 411 on all of the benefits of all this delectable diet, we consulted expert Dr. María Alesia Branz, a licensed nutritionist and certified health coach.

“What I love the most about this diet, is that it is based on the most natural elements, and that includes all the food groups: proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It avoids obesity and cardiovascular diseases and is an ally against diabetes, it also prevents breast and colon cancer, and ultimately the body's oxidative processes,” she shared with HOLA! USA.

The Mediterranean Diet is filled with many colorful and plentiful looking dishes

We don’t like to think of it as a diet, but more of a lifestyle that might just change the way other diets are perceived and approached. This lifestyle is definitely something that is attainable that reminds us that you don't need to lose the flavor with trying to shed the weight.

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