The Mediterranean diet has been hailed as the secret to a long and healthy life.
What is the secret behind the mediterranean diet that it can effectively prevent many dangerous and life taking diseases?
Want to know all about the mediterranean diet? Here is a complete guide on Mediterranean Diet.
The serene and picturesque countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea make up for the wondrous Mediterranean region. This region also boasts of its unique cuisine that is rich in healthy fats, freshly grown vegetables and a good helping of wholesome proteins.
Mediterranean Diet was first featured in the book ‘The Mediterranean Diet’ by Marissa Cloutier and Eve Adamson, in which it was mentioned that mediterranean diet is primarily based on traditional foods that were consumed by the people living in a particular region. It is full of nutritious and tasty delights that are often garnished with aromatic herbs and spices like rosemary. The emphasis is on a plant based diet with proper portions of fruits, green vegetables, beans, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil.
The primary premise is to restrict processed foods and sugars. So, there are some restrictions for added sugar, processed meat, highly processed foods. A lot of research and studies have shown that this diet can be effective in preventing heart diseases, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and many other life taking diseases.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
A Mediterranean diet quickly conjures up images of one binging on pizza or pasta. But that is a false start as these do not fit into the Mediterranean diet plan.
A Mediterranean diet is based on the Mediterranean region’s traditional vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, so on. This is not only about eating fresh vegetables and fruits, but physical activity is a vital element in the entire diet plan.
Physical activity, sharing food, and eating healthy can have a healthy and positive effect on your mind and body.
What Is Included In The Mediterranean Diet Food List?
The diet primarily promotes the consumption of different varieties of food and herbs grown along the region. This includes the bio-diverse around the Mediterranean Sea. It includes the seven Member States – France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta and Cyprus.
It has specific regional features: a climate of hot dry summers and humid, cool winters and a generally hilly landscape. The Mediterranean has not only very rich biodiversity but also a large number of plant species that do not grow anywhere else.
The Mediterranean diet promotes the consumption of foods rich in phytonutrients and heart-healthy fats in olive oil and nuts. Phytonutrients are the anti-oxidants found in plants and vegetables. There is no one right way to follow this, as a lot of regions have different varieties of food.
Here is the list:
- Healthy Vegetables like Tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, sprouts, cucumber, kale.
- Fruits which includes Apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, dates, melons.
- Nuts and Seeds and the list includes Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.
- Whole Grains like Whole oats, brown rice, whole wheat, whole grain bread.
- Dairy Products like cheese, yogurt, and Greek yogurt.
- Herbs and Spices which can include garlic, cinnamon, pepper, basil.
- Healthy Oils like virgin olive oil, avocados, and avocado oil.
- Include Eggs, Chicken, Duck eggs and Sweet Potatoes in your diet plan.
Make sure that you are eating these in moderation and as per your prescribed eating plan.
Foods To Avoid In The Mediterranean Diet
1. Added Sugar
Avoid Soda, ice-creams, candies, sugar-added beverages, etc as they surely have added sugar in them.
2. Refined Oils
Avoid Soybean oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil.
3. Refined Grains.
You can avoid taking White bread in your diet meal.
4. Processed Meat
Avoid Red Meat, sausages, hot dogs, etc as the are processed meats and you have to avoid taking processed meats in your diet plan.
Always make sure you read the labels to avoid these foods with unhealthy ingredients. Also, if you have any comorbidity consult your doctor about the diet.
Please Read: How To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Easily
Beverages For The Mediterranean Diet
Water is the beverage which you can definitely include in mediterranean diet. You can also consume a moderate amount of red wine for example 1 glass a day or you can even go for 1 glass of lemon juice every day.
Alcohols must be avoided by those already under chronic medical conditions or those having problems with alcoholism.
Tea and coffee can be included, but you need to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
What Should Be Your Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan?
As the focus is on eating fresh and healthy meals, we have prepared a sample diet menu for you. Choose from these delicious options or pick similar healthy delights.
1. Mediterranean Diet Breakfast
- Omelette with veggies, onions, and tomatoes with a piece of fruit.
- Oatmeal with raisins and fruits.
- Eat eggs and vegetables fried in olive oil.
- You can include yogurt with fruits and nuts.
2. Mediterranean Diet Lunch
- Whole-grain bread sandwich with cheese and fresh vegetables, Greek yogurt with nuts.
- Make sure to have Lasagne or tuna salad in your lunch.
3. Mediterranean Diet Dinner
- Broiled salmon with brown rice and vegetables.
- Salad with tomatoes olive and feta cheese.
- Lasagne is quite healthy in dinner.
Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet
The health benefits of Mediterranean food are immense! The benefits include lifelong changes that improve the quality of your life. These include:
1. Prevents Heart Diseases and Strokes
The consumption of more fruits, vegetables, beans is known to minimise the chances of stroke or heart diseases. Avoiding processed food, refined bread, meat and hard liquors reduces the stress on your system.
2. Protects From Diabetes
This diet is rich in fibre that gets digested slowly, preventing a spike in the sugar levels.
3. Reduces The Risk of Alzheimer Disease
According to research, this diet helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and aids in improving the overall health of the heart. There is growing evidence that the Mediterranean diet is related to lower risk for cardiovascular disease, several forms of cancer, and overall mortality. This in turn reduces the risk of dementia.
4. Increases Longevity
Consuming food rich in fibre, vitamins, and nutrients, along with physical activity, can help in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. The diet promotes longevity by also improving the quality of life in later years. Research indicates that women who followed the Mediterranean diet eating pattern were 46% more likely to age healthfully.
Effects of The Mediterranean Diet — Short Term and Long Term
As discussed, there are many potential benefits of adopting a Mediterranean diet. It is a diet that is doable and easy to stick to.
In the long term, it helps in preventing COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a chronic inflammatory lung disease), slows brain health decline, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
You can lose some weight in a year or two by following this mediterranean diet. This diet prompts you to eat more fruits and vegetables that lifts your moods and pushes you in the direction of weight loss. It makes you physically and mentally fit and healthy. According to research, regular intake of raw and fresh green leafy vegetables leads to fewer symptoms of depression.
The Mediterranean diet emphasises the consumption of a plant-based diet with minimal animal food items. This diet is incredibly satisfying and uplifts your mood and makes your body healthy and happy. You can make delicious recipes, including a lot of nutrient-rich meal combinations.
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