The Mediterranean diet is a meal plan inspired by the eating habits of people who live in Greece, Spain, and Southern Italy back in the 1960s.
It incorporates the basic of healthy eating, following the traditional cooking style of the Mediterranean countries.
Several researchers found that people following this diet plan are exceptionally healthy than the Americans as it can prevent strokes, heart attacks, and type-2 diabetes.
There’s no strict rule to follow this plan. It’s a healthy diet plan consists of a variety of healthy foods. You can even drink a moderate amount of wine.
Continue reading learn about the Mediterranean diet, what you can eat and what not, and the health benefits you may get by following this diet plan.
Foods You Can Eat in The Mediterranean Diet
There have been many controversies on exactly which foods you can eat in a Mediterranean diet. It’s because there are so many countries around the Mediterranean sea with different food habits in different areas.
However, most studies support having a high amount of healthy plant foods and a low amount of animal-based foods. It also suggests eating seafood or fish once or twice a week.
The best part if this diet is, it involves regular activities, socializing, and sharing food with others to have an enjoyable life.
The following foods are allowed to eat in a Mediterranean diet:
Fruits: Strawberries, apples, grapes, bananas, oranges, melons, pears, dates, figs, peaches, etc.
Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, etc.
Fish and seafood: Salmon, mackerel, sardines, oysters, trout, tuna, shrimp, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
Seeds and needs: Walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
Legumes: Beans, peanuts, peas, lentils, pulses, chickpeas, etc.
Tubers: Turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, etc.
Whole grains: Whole wheat, brown rice, barley, corn, buckwheat, rye, whole oats, whole-grain bread, and pasta.
Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, etc.
Eggs: Chicken, duck and quail eggs.
Dairy: Yogurt, cheese, Greek yogurt, etc.
Herbs and spices: Rosemary, garlic, mint, sage, nutmeg, basil, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
Healthy Fats: Olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and avocado oil.
Drink: Water, Coffee & tea (without sugar), red wine (1 glass per day).
Foods You Need to Avoid
Here are some of the unhealthy foods that you need to stop eating:
Refined grains: White bread, white rice, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
Added sugar: Candies, ice cream, soda, table sugar, etc.
Trans fats: Margarine and different processed foods.
Processed meat: Hot dogs, sausages, etc.
Refined oils: Cottonseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc.
Highly processed foods: Anything labeled “diet” or “low-fat.”
Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is quite beneficial for your health. Several studies show this diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
A study was published in The American Journal of Medicine. It confirms the Mediterranean diet as a key player in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Another research published in the journal Nutrients shows that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced breast cancer risk.
This diet involves fish and seafood that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming these foods can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other neurodegenerative disorders.
In fact, according to a research published in 2017 states that the Mediterranean diet can prevent chronic diseases and improve longevity.
A 2018 research shows following a Mediterranean diet can improve sleep quality in older adults.
The Mediterranean diet involves eating more plant-based foods and less processed foods, meaning that it can help you lose weight in a healthy way.
Most importantly, this diet includes a variety of foods, which make it interesting and easy to follow. As it doesn’t have any strict rule, anyone can follow it for a long time.
A Sample Seven Days Mediterranean Diet Menu
Following is a meal plan for one week based on the Mediterranean diet. You can swap the menu with other healthy alternatives and adjust the portions based on your preferences.
Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, onions, and tomatoes. A piece of fruit.
Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with vegetables.
Snacks: Greek yogurt
Dinner: A tuna salad with olive oil dressing. You can have a piece of fruit for dessert.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins.
Lunch: Pizza or sandwich made with whole grain wheat.
Snacks: An apple
Dinner: Salad with olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with nuts, raisins, and an apple.
Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich, with fresh vegetables and cheese.
Snacks: Some grapes or blueberries.
Dinner: Mediterranean lasagne.
Breakfast: Yogurt with fruits and nuts.
Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries, nuts, and oats.
Snacks: A handful of nuts
Dinner: Broiled salmon, with brown rice and vegetables. Use olive oil to cook them.
Breakfast: Vegetables and eggs that are fried in olive oil.
Snacks: Greek yogurt.
Dinner: Grilled lamb, with baked potato and salad.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with oats and strawberries.
Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with vegetables.
Dinner: Pizza made with whole wheat, topped with cheese, olives, and vegetables.
Breakfast: Omelet with olives and veggies.
Lunch: Tuna salad.
Snacks: A piece of fruit.
Dinner: Grilled chicken, vegetables and potato. Fruit for dessert.
Following a Mediterranean diet is quite simple and easy as most of the food items are available in your nearest grocery shops.
This diet consists of varieties of foods, meaning that you have a lot of options to eat. You can even drink a glass of wine each day. But, if you’re an alcoholic, you need to be careful about the amount of wine you’re having.
The diet is easy to follow at home, as well as in the restaurants. Just order seafood or fish most of the time and make sure your food is cooked with olive oil.
If you want to start a healthy diet plan but don’t want to follow a strict one, you can easily follow this healthy and satisfying diet plan.
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