The Mediterranean diet (also known as the low-fat or Mediterranean diet) is a dietary pattern characterized by moderate consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olive oil. It was first introduced into Western diets during World War II when it helped reduce heart disease mortality rates among soldiers. Today, the Mediterranean diet is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Is This The Easiest Diet To Follow?
Mediterranean diet is very simple to follow. You don’t need any special equipment to prepare it. It’s just like eating regular food, but with less fat and sugar. And there are no hard rules about how much you have to eat per day; you can choose whatever amount works best for your lifestyle.
How Does The Mediterranean Diet Work?
The Mediterranean diet consists of foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which include olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados. These foods are high in fiber and antioxidants, which means they can help reduce inflammation in your body and boost your immune system. The high amount of omega-3s in the Mediterranean diet also has a positive effect on your brain and can lower your risk of depression.
Can Anyone Follow The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is very healthy, but that doesn’t mean you should eat unlimited amounts of everything. You should still follow a balanced diet. Certain types of fish, such as swordfish, are high in mercury and should be avoided. It’s also easy to overeat on nuts and legumes if you’re not careful. The main thing is to be conscious of the big picture, so try not to stress yourself out if you have a slice of cake at your niece’s birthday party or if you decide to pass on the vegetables tonight.
Is The Mediterranean Diet Good For Any Specific Conditions?
The biggest benefit from the Mediterranean diet is that it can help prevent and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also helps maintain a healthy weight, which reduces your risk of developing different types of cancer.
The most important aspect of the diet is to stick with it.
If you just try to add a few items here and there, you probably won’t see any benefits.
This diet can be hard if you’re constantly traveling or eating at other people’s houses.
But if you make smart choices, you’ll get all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs.
You don’t need to buy any special foods.
Most of what you’ll eat is already in your kitchen.
One of the main benefits of this diet is that it is very easy to follow.
You don’t need to count calories, and you can eat whenever you’re hungry.
One of the downsides of this diet is that it can be hard to follow if you have a very busy schedule.
If you don’t prepare your meals in advance, you might find it difficult to make healthy choices when you’re on the run.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on whole foods, which means that it’s low in processed foods.
You should try to follow this rule as much as possible.
A disadvantage of this diet is that it might not be the best option for people with specific health conditions.
For example, if you have diabetes or low blood sugar, you should speak with your doctor before starting this diet.
The Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of whole grains and foods rich in fiber.
If you’re not used to eating this way, the transition could cause some stomach discomfort.
You shouldn’t start this diet if you’re allergic or have a sensitivity to any of the recommended foods.
Talk to your doctor first to see if this is the right diet for you.
This diet might not be a good fit for people who don’t like seafood, because it is the cornerstone of this eating plan.
However, there are many kinds of meat and dairy that can also be included in this diet.
While this diet doesn’t forbid the consumption of alcohol, you should be careful about how much you drink.
Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories, so you might gain weight if you don’t practice moderation.
There are many different types of this diet, so you can pick and choose which ones work for you.
You might find it easier to adhere to the diet if you opt for a Mediterranean style of eating that’s similar to what your ancestors ate.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the best out there, so if you’re looking to start a new way of eating, this might be a great fit for you.
There are many different ways to adhere to the Mediterranean diet.
You can pick and choose the guidelines that work best for you.
You don’t need to give up any foods that you like. Instead, you can pick a Mediterranean style of eating that’s similar to what your ancestors ate.
The Mediterranean diet is more than just a popular way of eating; it’s also a cultural experience.
It’s one of the healthiest ways to lose weight without going hungry.
While you might not lose a lot of weight when you first adopt this way of eating, you will see results after some time.
You’ll be much more likely to have lasting success with this diet compared to fad diets that only cause a short-term change.
The main goal of this diet is to prevent the onset of heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer.
This way of eating has a positive effect on diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease, too.
When starting any new diet, it’s important to talk to your doctor first.
They can give you advice on whether this is a good fit for you and help you through the process.
It’s best to start this diet with a clean slate.
Go through your kitchen and get rid of all the junk food you have in there.
If you have nothing to temptation, you won’t be able to eat it.
You can eat whatever you want on this diet, but it’s best to eat mainly plant foods and healthful proteins.
You can eat bread and pasta on the Mediterranean diet, but you should throw away the white stuff and switch to whole grain alternatives.
When starting this diet, try eating a little more fish and vegetables than you normally do.
Gradually increase your intake until it’s the main foods you eat.
The best vegetables to eat on this diet are greens and other types that are dark and leafy.
These vegetables are low in calories while still being filling.
Part 3: How to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet
You’ve decided that the Mediterranean diet is the right way for you, but how should you go about eating?
The Mediterranean diet has many different variations, so it’s important to pick a plan that fits your lifestyle and goals. To help you out, this section will go over some of the popular diets used to describe the Mediterranean way of eating.
The Traditional Mediterranean Diet
The traditional Mediterranean diet has three components that all work together to keep you healthy and reduce your risk of developing diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. This diet includes:
Foods to Incorporate:
Fruits and vegetables (especially greens and other leafy vegetables) Meats, including poultry, fish, and beans Whole grains, such as barley, farro, and whole wheat pasta Nuts and seeds Butter and olive oil Olives and olive oil Low fat dairy products like cheese Wine in moderation
Foods to Limit or Avoid:
Red meat Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, salami, and ham Fried foods like chips, fries, and pizza Sugar and sweeteners like jam, honey, and candy Highly processed foods that contain more than a few ingredients Items that are deep fried or breaded
The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet
This version of the diet cuts out most carbohydrates, limiting them only to vegetables and some dairy products. While this plan is great if you want to lose weight or if you’re a diabetic, it isn’t very traditional and takes a lot of the staples of the Mediterranean diet out.
The Paleo Mediterranean Diet
Also known as the “caveman diet,” the paleo diet limits the types of food you can eat based on what could be hunted and gathered. While this diet encourages a lot of food that’s good for you, it also includes a lot of meat and animal products that aren’t exactly the best things for your body.
The Traditional Mediterranean Diet
This is the diet you want to eat if you’re looking to reap the rewards of the Mediterranean lifestyle. It consists mainly of plant foods like vegetables and grains, but also encourages eating some fish, poultry, and eggs.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are eaten in moderation, while red meat is consumed only occasionally. Olive oil and herbs and spices are used throughout the diet to flavor foods. Wine is consumed in moderation.
The Typical Mediterranean Diet Meal
While there isn’t exactly a “typical” meal when it comes to the Mediterranean diet, there are some guidelines that generally apply to most foods within this way of eating. For instance, high quality, nutrient-rich foods are always preferred to processed foods.
Fresh ingredients are favored over canned, frozen, or preserved foods, although some of these less-than-ideal foods make it easier to follow the Mediterranean diet while traveling or on the go. The typical meal usually consists of:
An appetizer of some sort, like hummus or eggplant dip with pita bread.
A vegetable-based entree, like pasta with tomatoes and basil or sautéed spinach sprinkled with pine nuts.
A meat or fish entree, like chicken kebabs or grilled salmon served with roasted potatoes or stuffed grape leaves.
Dessert might include fresh fruit.
A glass of red wine or beer.
Some healthy lifestyle tips that always apply to the Mediterranean diet include:
Cooking at home whenever possible and limiting the amount of processed foods you eat.
Eating a moderate amount of healthy fats (like butter, olive oil, and nuts), while limiting unhealthy fats (like those in deep fried foods or in meats from animals raised in factories rather than out on pasture).
Removing processed and sugary foods from your home to prevent indulging in them.
Always eating breakfast, which is extremely important in keeping you from overeating later in the day.
Lunching early instead of late to avoid overindulging.
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as both have been linked to weight gain.
Sweet or not, you should definitely try some of these desserts on your next trip to Greece
The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but the Mediterranean diet also emphasizes eating fish, nuts, and beans as well. These foods are rich in protein and heart-healthy fats, which have been shown to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in the United States.
While much of the focus on the Mediterranean diet is on reducing your risk for heart disease, it can also reduce your risk for other chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight is also easier with this diet thanks to all the delicious foods that are allowed.
The Mediterranean diet is not a fad diet and it is not overly restrictive, which means that it’s easy to stick with over the long term since you don’t have to count calories or limit yourself to bland food. Of course, you also have the perk of traveling to one of the most beautiful places in the world while you’re following the Mediterranean way of eating!
If you’d like to learn more about the Mediterranean diet, register for this FREE webinar to learn how the Mediterranean way of eating can make a difference to your health and focus.
This article was originally published on September 2, 2014.
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