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Mediterranean Diet – Definition, Benefits, What to Eat, and More

Mediterranean Diet Definition

Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern that is complemented by physical exercise and the climate of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and that has multiple health benefits.

In terms of food, it bases on ingredients typical of local agriculture in countries with a Mediterranean climate, mainly Spain and Italy.

It summarizes reducing the consumption of meats and carbohydrates in favour of more plant foods and monounsaturated fats.

What are the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

benefits

  1. The health benefits of this diet are most significant when combined with physical exercise.
  2. It should be moderate, but if possible, it should be done for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If for reasons of time, it is complicated, it must do as regularly as possible.
  3. Options such as brisk walking, running, swimming, or cycling are advisable. Still, you can also resort to any other sport or activity that helps burn calories and fat, as well as optimal physical maintenance.
  4. Thus, it helps to lose weight, control blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia, and delay cognitive decline. Regular physical exercise also offers protection against chronic diseases such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s.
  5. Following the Mediterranean diet and helping to control weight and increase the feeling of physical well-being, it improves the functioning of various organs, such as the kidney and the heart.
  6. Likewise, it has been discovered that cancer’s death rate is lower among those who practice it, which tend to abuse fast food, convenience foods, and fats more.
  7. This food pattern has been transmitted from generation to generation over several centuries in the Mediterranean regions.
  8. It has been evolving and welcoming new foods and preparation methods but maintains the properties and characteristics that make it a life model.
  9. Healthy, and that people of all ages and conditions can practice.
  10. The products are easy to find and prepare, and there are countless recipes, both simple and more elaborate, with which to get the most out of this diet.
  11. Furthermore, its importance in individuals’ well-being is not limited because it is a varied, healthy, and balanced diet.
  12. It should also consider that its low content of saturated fat and sugar and its abundance of vitamins and fibre contribute to its richness in antioxidants.

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What to Eat on a Mediterranean Diet?

mediterranean diet

Entirely which foods belong to the Mediterranean diet is disputed because there is so much variation between different countries. The diet is rich in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal foods.

However, it recommends eating fish and shellfish at least twice a week. The Mediterranean lifestyle also requires regular physical activity, sharing meals with other people, and enjoying life.

It would help if you based your diet on these healthy, unprocessed Mediterranean foods:

Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, and so on.

Fruits: Like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, watermelons, peaches, and so on.

Nuts and Seed: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.

Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, legumes, peanuts, chickpeas, and so on.

Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, and so on.

Whole Grains: Oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole wheat bread, and pasta.

Fish and Shellfish: Salmon, sardine, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, and so on.

Poultry: Chicken, quail, eggs, and duck.

Dairy: Cheese, yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, and so on.

Herbs and Spices: It like garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, and so on.

Healthy Fats: Fats like extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, avocado oil, etc.

Single-ingredient whole foods are the solution to good health.

What to Drink on a Mediterranean Diet?

  • Water should be your drink of choice in it.
  • This diet also takes less amount of red wine, about one glass per day.
  • However, this is optional, and anyone with alcoholism or problems controlling their consumption should avoid wine.
  • Coffee and tea are also wholly allowable, but you have avoided sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices high in sugar.

Healthy Mediterranean Diet Snacks

snacks

You do not need to eat more than three meals a day. But if you’re hungry between meals, there are plenty of healthy snack options:

  • A handful of walnuts.
  • A piece of fruit.
  • Carrots or baby carrots.
  • Some berries or grapes.
  • Leftovers from the night before.
  • Greek yoghurt.
  • Apple slices with almond butter.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan for one Week

Below is a meal plan for a week on the Mediterranean diet. Feel free to regulate the portions and food options based on your own needs and preferences.

1. Monday

Breakfast: Greek yoghurt with strawberries and oatmeal.

Lunch: Whole wheat sandwich with vegetables.

Dinner: Tuna salad dressed with olive oil. A piece of fruit for dessert.

2. Tuesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins.

Lunch: Tuna salad leftover from the night before.

Dinner: Tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese salad.

3. Wednesday

Breakfast: Omelette with vegetables, tomatoes, and onions. A piece of fruit.

Lunch: Whole wheat sandwich with cheese and fresh vegetables.

Dinner: Mediterranean lasagna.

4. Thursday

Breakfast: Yogurt with fruits and sliced ​​nuts.

Lunch: Lasagna leftover from the night before.

Dinner: Grilled salmon, take with brown rice and vegetables.

5. Friday

Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in olive oil.

Lunch: Greek yoghurt with strawberries, oatmeal, and walnuts.

Dinner: Grilled lamb, baked potato, and salad.

6. Saturday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and apple.

Lunch: Whole wheat sandwich with vegetables.

Dinner: Mediterranean pizza makes with whole wheat and topped with cheese, vegetables, olives.

7. Sunday

Breakfast: Omelette with vegetables and olives.

Lunch: Pizza leftover from the night before.

Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables and potatoes. Fruit for dessert.

It is generally unnecessary to count calories or track macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) in the Mediterranean diet.

How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet?

mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet base on:

  • Plant-based meals, with only small amounts of beef and chicken
  • More portion of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes
  • Foods that naturally contain a high quantity of fibre
  • Lots of fish and other seafood instead
  • Olive oil is the primary amount of fat used to prepare food. This oil is a healthy, monounsaturated fat.
  • Foods that are prepared and seasoned, without sauces or meat juices

Foods eaten in small quantities or NOT consumed in the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Red meat
  • Sweets and other desserts
  • Eggs
  • Butter

Risks of the Mediterranean Diet

Despite its advantages, following the Mediterranean diet strictly can reduce iron and calcium levels by consuming less meat and dairy products.

Therefore, you can ask your doctor if you need supplements or specific products rich in these minerals. As for wine, it recommends that it take during meals and always in moderation, but it is not essential, so it can suppress if its intake poses any health risk.

Conclusion

Although there is no defined Mediterranean diet, eating is generally rich in healthy plant foods and relatively lower in animal foods, focusing on fish and shellfish.

You can find a world of information about the Mediterranean diet on the Internet, and many excellent books have written about it.

Try Googling “Mediterranean recipes,” and you’ll find plenty of great tips for delicious meals. The Mediterranean diet is wonderfully healthy and satisfying. You will not be disappointed.

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