Mediterranean Diet

You probably think about pasta and pizza from Italy, or pita and hummus from Greece when you consider Mediterranean food; however, these foods do not quite fit into any healthy diet plans that are labeled Mediterranean. In reality, an actual Mediterranean diet mainly consists of vegetables and fruits, olive oil, seafood, hearty grains plus more. It has foods which help fight against particular cancers, heart disease, cognitive decline and diabetes. This is a diet worth taking a look at. Even though changing up from cheese and pepperoni to avocados and fish could take some effort, you could be on the path shortly to living a longer and healthier life.

What Is Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean diet is a term which describes a specific mixture of dietary foods which have been known to promote a long life and health in people from a lot of countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Mediterranean makes reference to the origin of the diet, instead of the requirement to eat Italian or Greek foods. However, it can be rewarding and enjoyable to do some experimenting.

This diet is not about some superfoods for a quick fix. It is not a strict list, ether, of food that you are recommended not to eat. Instead, the Mediterranean Diet is a recipe for daily eating that is healthy over a long period of time.

Food Examples of Mediterranean Diet

Foods That Should Be Encouraged

Vegetables

Cabbage, onions, courgettes, cucumbers, cauliflower, leeks, carrots, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, aubergine, garlic and peppers.

Fruits

Olives, oranges, grapes, apples, bananas, pears, cherries, melons, plums, pineapples, figs and tomatoes.

Cereals

Wheat, oats, barley, millet, corn and brown rice.

Legumes

Peas, chickpeas, beans, lentils, peanuts

Sea foods

White fish and shellfish: cod, sole, halibut, plaice, haddock, hake, tinned tuna, sea bass, turbot, mullet, whiting, mussels, squid, prawns, crab, lobster.

Whole fish: whitebait, pilchards, sardines, anchovy.

Oily fish: salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, fresh tuna.

 

Foods That Should Be Carefully Measured

Mono-unsaturated Fats

Olive oil, rapeseed oil

Lean white meat

Chicken, turkey and other poultry.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts: almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts.

Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy.

Wine

A huge range of red wines is available. Each prepared by fermentation of juice extracted from one or more varieties of grape.

 

Foods That Should Be Restricted

Dairy product

Milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, cream, fromage frais.

Red meat

Beef, pork, lamb.

Potatoes

Found as chips and crisps. Used in pies and processed food.

Sweet desserts

Chocolates, sweets, creamy desserts, biscuits, rich cakes

What Are the Benefits of Mediterranean Diet?

A traditional American Heart Association diet will contain big quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, nuts and olive oil, plus physical activity to help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’ diseases.

  • Protects against type 2 diabetes. Mediterranean diets are rich in fiber, which slows down digestion and stops big swings in blood sugar.
  • Prevents strokes and heart disease. Processed foods, refined breads and red meats are discouraged in this diet, while red wine instead of hard liquor is encouraged. These all have been linked to stroke and heart disease prevention.
  • Lowering Alzheimer’s risk. Researchers believe that the Mediterranean diet could help blood sugar and cholesterol levels and your overall blood vessel health, all factors which could lower the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Keeps you agile. The nutrients gained from this diet could lower a senior’s risk at having muscle weakness and other signs of frailty by around seventy percent.
  • Cutting the risk of Parkinson’s disease in half. With high levels of antioxidants which stop cells from going through a damaging process known as oxidative stress, the risk of Parkinson’s disease is just about halved.
  • Increasing longevity. When you have a reduction in the risk for developing cancer or heart disease, there is also a 20% reduced risk of death at any age.

How to Follow a Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy and also delicious way to eat. A lot of people who switch to it say that they never want to go back to eating any other way. Below are some steps for you to begin:

  • Switch to whole grains and eat fruits and veggies. A majority of your meals should consist of plant based foods. Fresh and whole are the best choices, and you should avoid anything over-processed. Have fruits and veggies in each meal and have them for snacks as well. Use whole grain breads and cereal, and include whole-grain pasta and rice. You can keep apples, baby carrots and bananas in the house for satisfying and quick snacks. Fruits salads are also a great choice.
  • Seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts are great for protein, fiber and healthy fats. Keep cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios handy. Pick natural peanut butter, instead of the kind with hydrogenated fat added. You can try blended sesame seeds or tahini as a spread or dip for bread.
  • Omit butter. Try canola or olive oil instead of margarine or butter. You can drizzle it on vegetables, add it to pasta with some garlic and green onions or dip bread in flavored olive oil. Spread it lightly on whole-grain bread as well.
  • Spices and herbs. Spices and herbs are an easy way to flavor your food and can replace fat and salt in recipes.
  • Eat fish. Have fish at least once per week. Water-packed or fresh salmon, tuna, trout, herring and mackerel are choices which are healthy. Bake, grill or broil fish for easy cleanup and a great taste. Keep away from fried or breaded fish.
  • Eat less red meat. Don’t eat red meat more than a few days a month. Use poultry and fish instead. When you choose red meat, keep it lean and keep the portions small, about the size of a deck of cards. Keep away from bacon, sausage and other processed, high-fat meats.
  • Pick low-fat dairy. Switch to things like fat-free yogurt, skim milk and low-fat cheese and limit foods like whole or 2 percent milk, ice cream and cheese.
 
 
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