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What is the mediterranean diet

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The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that can help you lose weight and prevent stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and premature death. Our definition of “Diet” is to endure the constraints that help you lose weight. But the Mediterranean diet is far from this definition. If you want to start a Mediterranean diet, read this article to the end.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of nutrition that people living around the Mediterranean have naturally chosen. This is a diet known for being healthy. This diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts and legumes, and olive oil. In the Mediterranean diet, you limit or eliminate red meat, sugary foods, and dairy products (except for a small amount of yogurt and cheese). There is no established way to use this diet properly; Because there are many countries around the Mediterranean Sea and people from different regions eat different foods. The Mediterranean diet is a valid and approved diet all over the world that pays much attention to Mediterranean foods and vegetables. The Mediterranean diet, in addition to weight loss and fitness, has amazing effects in the treatment of many diseases, including chronic and heart diseases.

Mediterranean Diet Rank in U.S.News Classification

  • The Mediterranean Diet is ranked No. 1 in the U.S.News 35 Diet. You can see other ratings below: Best Diets: #1
  • Fast Weight Loss Diets: #1
  • Weight loss diets: #27
  • Heart Health Diets: #15
  • Proper diets for diabetes: #1
  • The easiest diets: #1

Principles of the Mediterranean diet

Knowing the basics of the Mediterranean diet will help you make the most of this diet. 

  • You should eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, spices, fish, seafood, and olive oil in your Mediterranean diet.
  • You should eat chicken, eggs, cheese, and yogurt on average in your Mediterranean diet.
  • You should rarely eat red meat.

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is best known for its heart health benefits; For example, reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and reducing death from cardiovascular disease. 

It is also known to be less likely to develop certain cancers, such as breast cancer, as well as conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

 New evidence suggests that this diet may have protective effects for those at risk for type 2 diabetes. For example, the Mediterranean diet improves blood sugar control in people with the disease and can, therefore, be a good way to manage the disease.

Another point is that people with diabetes are more likely to get cardiovascular disease, but according to an article published in the April 2014 issue of the journal Nutrients, having this diet can help their heart health.

As mentioned, the Mediterranean diet has many health benefits.

  • Brain and heart health;
  • Cancer prevention;
  • Prevention or control of diabetes;
  • Weight Loss;

Even by following the Mediterranean diet, you can maintain a balanced weight by avoiding these diseases!

How exactly does the Mediterranean diet work?

The Mediterranean diet was not designed as a weight loss program. 

Because it was not made at all, it is an eating style of some people in an area that has evolved naturally over the centuries and there is no formal way to follow it. Since the Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern, not a diet for weight loss, it is up to you to know how many calories you need to consume to lose or gain weight.

But do not worry! The food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet helps you get started. In the food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet, the use of the following foods is recommended:

  • Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and pure olive oil.
  • Eat chicken, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation.
  • Eat red meat infrequently.

Mediterranean Diet List: What to Eat or Do Not Eat

Foods that belong exactly to the Mediterranean diet are a very controversial topic; Because these foods are different in different countries. 

The Mediterranean diet, which has been tested by many studies, contains high amounts of vegetables and very few animal foods.

However, it is recommended that you eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. The Mediterranean lifestyle also includes regular physical activity, sharing food with others, and enjoying life. Your diet should be based on these healthy, unprocessed Mediterranean foods.

Foods you should eat

  • Vegetables: potatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, citrus fruits, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, cantaloupe, peaches, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, and other legumes;
  • Roots: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc.
  • Whole grains: whole oats, brown rice, buckwheat, barley, corn, whole wheat, bread, and whole-grain pasta.
  • Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, etc.
  • Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
  • Eggs: eggs, quail eggs, and duck eggs.
  • Dairy: cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
  • Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Pure olive oil, olive, avocado, and avocado oil.

Avoid these unhealthy foods

  • Added sugar: soft drinks, chocolate, ice cream, sugar and many more;
  • Refined grains: white bread, pasta made from refined wheat and other items;
  • Trans fats: Fats found in various vegetable oils and processed foods.
  • Refined oils: processed sausages, hot dogs, etc.
  • Highly processed foods: Any food called “low fat” or “diet” or food that seems to be factory prepared.

Sample Mediterranean diet

Here are two examples of a 7-day diet plan in the Mediterranean diet:

The first sample diet plan

First day

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and a little honey;
  • Lunch: tuna with vegetables and special sauce;
  • Dinner: Small chicken breast with hot cereal salad made from potatoes, Faro, and zucchini.

Second day

  • Breakfast: Whole grain toast with a boiled egg and a piece of fruit;
  • Lunch: Lentil salad with red pepper, dried tomatoes, capers, and balsamic sauce;
  • Dinner: Salmon with quinoa and dried vegetables.

Third day

  • Breakfast: ricotta cheese with walnuts and fruit;
  • Lunch: Tabouli salad with pita bread;
  • Dinner: Fried chicken, Cicchetti (an Italian dish), and a large salad with sauce.

Fourth day

  • Breakfast: fruit with a serving of cheese;
  • Lunch: vegetable soup with cereal roll;
  • Dinner: white fish cooked with olive oil and garlic and sweet potato.

Fifth day

  • Breakfast: omelet with tomatoes, fresh spices, and olives;
  • Lunch: ‌ Salad with white beans, vegetables, olives and a small piece of chicken;
  • Dinner: Grilled shrimp with Brussels sprouts.

Sixth day

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with vegetables and scallion along with feta and a slice of bread;
  • Lunch: a bowl of quinoa with pieces of chicken, feta and vegetables;
  • Dinner: Grilled seafood, fried broccoli and fennel, arugula, and quinoa salad.

Seventh-day

  • Breakfast: vegetable frittata;
  • Lunch: a plate of salmon, lemon, cereal crackers, raw vegetables;
  • Dinner: Pasta with red sauce and oysters.

The second sample diet plan

First day

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and oatmeal;
  • Lunch: whole grain and vegetable sandwich;
  • Dinner: Tuna salad with olive oil and a piece of fruit as a dessert.

Second day

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with raisins;
  • Lunch: Tuna salad leftover from last night;
  • Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.

Third day

  • Breakfast: omelet with vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and pieces of fruit;
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with cheese and fresh vegetables;
  • Dinner: Vegetable lasagna.

Fourth day

  • Breakfast: yogurt with pieces of fruit and nuts;
  • Lunch: Lasagna leftover from last night;
  • Dinner: fried salmon with brown rice and vegetables.

Fifth day

  • Breakfast: eggs and vegetables fried in olive oil;
  • Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries and oats;
  • Dinner: Grilled meat with salad and cooked potatoes.

Sixth day

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with raisins, nuts and an apple;
  • Lunch: whole grain and vegetable sandwich;
  • Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made from whole wheat, cheese, vegetables, and olives.

Seventh-day

  • Breakfast: omelet with vegetables and olives;
  • Lunch: leftover pizza from last night;
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables, potatoes, and fruit as a dessert.

There is usually no need to count calories or look for high-nutrient foods (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) in this diet.

Observe the Mediterranean diet in the restaurant

  • Order fish or seafood as the main course.
  • Ask them to fry your food in pure olive oil.
  • Eat only whole-grain bread and use olive oil instead of butter.

Healthy Mediterranean snacks

There is no need to eat more than three meals a day; But if you feel hungry between these meals, you can eat many healthy snacks:

  • A handful of nuts;
  • A piece of fruit;
  • Carrots;
  • Greek yogurt;
  • Apple slices with almond butter;

Strengths of the Mediterranean diet

It is easy to continue this diet. A diet only works when it can be done. This means that all members of your family can eat according to this style wherever they go (to a restaurant or family party). This diet includes a variety of foods and does not eliminate any food groups. “This diet is a tempting diet that anyone can stick to for the rest of their lives,” says Dr. Cohen.

You can eat whatever you like. Obviously, with this variety of fresh foods available to you as an option, making food based on this diet is easy. And you do not have to delete your favorite foods. Maybe they just need change. For example, instead of sausage and pepperoni pizza, you choose a vegetable pizza with cheese. You can also include a lot of food in one meal. Eating fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables allows you to eat more in a low-calorie meal.

It is low in saturated fat. This way you will not feel hungry because you can use healthy fats. But by limiting large amounts of red or processed meats and relying on unsaturated fatty acids such as avocados, nuts, or olive oil, you keep your saturated fat levels low. These fats do not cause high cholesterol like saturated fats. This reduces the risk of getting the disease. Many studies say that people who follow the Mediterranean diet are less likely to die of heart disease than those who follow the American diet.

Also, according to articles published in the English Journal of Cancer in September 2016 and the Journal of Urology in February 2018, evidence shows that people who eat this way have a lower risk of developing colon, prostate, and some head and neck cancers.

Weaknesses of the Mediterranean diet

Milk consumption is limited in the Mediterranean diet. There is no long-term risk from the Mediterranean diet. But if you like to drink a lot of milk and rely on it to get the calcium you need, you can eat cheese and yogurt, but in smaller amounts.

To get enough calcium in a milk-free diet, people should eat enough yogurt and cheese or look for non-dairy calcium sources. Non-dairy sources of calcium include almond milk, sardines, broccoli, and tofu that made from calcium sulfate.

Conclusion

Although there is no established Mediterranean diet, this diet is rich in healthy plant foods, has relatively little animal food, and focuses mainly on fish and seafood.

You can find much more comprehensive information about this diet on the Internet and great books have been written about it.

In the end, this Mediterranean diet is very healthy and satisfying and you will not regret trying it.

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