Everything You Need To Know About The Mediterranean Diet
Generally, we associate the term “diet” with anything based on restriction that aids in weight loss. The Mediterranean diet is absolutely the opposite, instead, it is a cardio-healthy eating pattern that incorporates the culinary essentials of individuals living in Mediterranean nations including Greece, Croatia, and Italy.
The Mediterranean diet is both tasty and nutritious, thanks to its abundance of savoury components such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. It is also linked to several advantages, including the ability to boost brain function, promote heart health, and manage blood sugar levels, among other things.
While there are no strict guidelines for following the Mediterranean diet like other diet regimes such as the keto diet, there are many basic suggestions you may follow to integrate the diet’s concepts into your routine.
Did You Know? Alcohol is allowed in the Mediterranean diet!!!
“Wine is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Red wine, in particular, is high in antioxidants, adding to the Mediterranean diet’s remarkable health advantages. Red wine contains a phytonutrient called resveratrol, which has been related to heart disease prevention. A glass of red wine (a 5-ounce portion) with supper is recommended as part of the Mediterranean diet to improve cardiovascular health.”
This blog delves deeper into what the Mediterranean diet is, how it works, benefits, what to eat, and what to avoid.
What Is A Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a manner of eating that is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean Sea-bordering nations. The diet is built primarily on plant-based products like whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. The major source of additional fat is olive oil.
In moderate proportion, fish, seafood, dairy, and chicken are allowed. Red meat and some sweets can only be consumed on rare occasions.
How Exactly Does The Mediterranean Diet Work?
The Mediterranean diet was not designed as a weight reduction strategy — that fact, there is no official method to adopt it as it is not a diet plan at all but simply a style of eating in an area of people that evolved gradually over generations. However, it is popular because it is a well-rounded, non-restrictive approach to eating. It’s also worth noting that two of the five so-called blue zones — locations where people are living longer lives and have lower illness rates — are in Mediterranean towns (Ikaria in Greece and Sardinia in Italy).
What Are The Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet?
A typical Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seafood, and olive oil, along with regular physical activity, can lower your risk of major mental and physical health issues by:
1 – Keeping Your Heart Healthy
A Mediterranean diet reduces your intake of refined bread, processed foods, and red meat, and encourages the use of red wine rather than hard liquor—all of which can help avoid heart disease and stroke. Read about other foods that can keep your heart healthy.
2 – Maintaining Your Agility
If you’re an older adult, the nutrients you get from a Mediterranean diet may lower your chance of developing muscular weakness and other indicators of frailty by roughly 70%.
3 – Lowering The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
According to research, the Mediterranean diet may enhance cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and general blood vessel health, thus lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
4 – Reducing The Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease
The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease by half. The Mediterranean diet’s high amounts of antioxidants can protect cells from a destructive process known as oxidative stress, reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease by half.
5 – Increasing Life Expectancy.
By lowering your chance of acquiring heart disease or cancer with the Mediterranean diet, you may cut your risk of mortality by 20% at any age.
6 – Providing Protection Against Type 2 Diabetes
A Mediterranean diet is high in fibre, which slows digestion, avoids blood sugar fluctuations, and can help you maintain a healthy weight.
What Can You Eat During The Mediterranean Diet?
Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables Try to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, or more if possible and include a huge variety. These foods are high in key nutrients but low in calories.
Bread, noodles, chapati, rice, pasta, and yams are examples of starchy carbohydrate foods. Whole Grain types are often richer in fibre, thus they are also beneficial to digestive health.
Whitefish is low in calories and fat, making it ideal for weight loss. Oily fish, despite its increased fat content, provide vital omega-3 fats and vitamin D.
Nuts and Butters
Choose unsalted varieties of nuts and nut butter. Nuts contain a lot of monounsaturated fats. As a general rule, aim for 30-35g (a handful) every day.
Use monounsaturated fat-rich oils like olive and rapeseed (canola) oils, as well as spreading fats produced from them.
Oils Rich in Monounsaturated Fats
During the springtime, summer, and early fall, try to spend at least 30 minutes in the sun – apply suntan lotion if you expose your skin to direct sunlight, if you are out for an extended period of time, or if you have very pale skin.
Vitamin D Supplements
If you are over 65, housebound, or have minimal sun exposure, it is suggested that you take a vitamin D supplement on a regular basis. You just need 5-10mcg (micrograms) every day. You can learn about foods that are rich in Vitamin D here.
What Can You Not Eat During The Mediterranean Diet?
While adopting the Mediterranean diet, you should minimise the following processed foods and ingredients:
Added sugar: added sugar may be found in a variety of meals, but it is most prevalent in soda, candy, ice cream, table sugar, syrup, and baked goods.
Refined grains: White bread, spaghetti, tortillas, chips, and crackers are examples of refined grains to avoid.
Trans fats: Margarine, fried meals, and other processed foods contain trans fats that should be limited during the Mediterranean diet.
Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and grapeseed oil are some refined oils that are not allowed in the Mediterranean diet.
Processed meats: It includes sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, and beef jerky. These meats have fats that are harmful to the heart.
Highly processed foods: Fast food, convenience meals, microwave popcorn, and granola bars should be avoided.
The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle rather than a weight-loss diet. Instead of devouring your food in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to appreciate what you’re eating. Not only will you appreciate your company and your meal, but you’ll also be able to tune in to your body’s appetite and contentment signs if you eat slowly.