What exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet Overview:

The Mediterranean diet is based off the way that the people bordering the sea level, so in Italy, Greece, France, would eat back in the 1950s and the reason why this diet was recognized is that the people around the Mediterranean Sea proved to be much healthier than those in the US elsewhere.

One of the main characteristics of this diet is the amount of fruits, vegetable and starchy foods that these people eat. Unlike the keto diet or the low-carb, this diet does not have percentages and clear-cut ways you have to follow, it is quite healthy, you eat a lot of healthy foods and you stay satisfied.

The other main distinguishing element of this diet is the fact that the people following this diet were at a much lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and had the highest longevity rate. Another big plus of this diet is the fact that it was shown to lower the chances of developing chronic depression and anxiety in people.

tomato
tomato

What is really remarkable in the Mediterranean diet is the fact that the foods they eat and the way they cook is very delicious, even though this is considered as one of the healthiest diets, the Mediterranean diet is packed with fats, but healthy fats. They all their foods with extra virgin olive oil which is the best option among cooking oils overall.

The diet is full of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and starches but the red meat, poultry, chicken and fish is fairly limited. One of the other amazing benefits that the diet offers is the fact that you can actually eat most of the foods that you might have been deprived of in other diets like bread, lots of healthy fats, a lot of volume in foods, wine, and fresh foods.

In the Mediterranean diet, you will never find processed foods or refined carbohydrates; for instance, the beef that is consumed on this diet is grass-fed beef, which means the cows are healthier, thus you will be eating the healthiest grade of meat possible. Moreover, the bread and pasta are whole wheat or sometimes mixed wheat which will give you all the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and micronutrient required for the day.

This way of eating does not call for any calorie counting; it is instead a lifestyle change. Fish is also another big component of the Mediterranean diet as it provides a good level of omega 3 and is often included at least twice a week in the diet.

Foods to eat on the Mediterranean diet:

Since the Mediterranean diet has been linked to a higher life expectancy and lower type 2 diabetes, it is important to explore what food options one can get in this diet. The key thing in this diet is that is has a lot of variety and it does not shy away from eating fats. Up to 40% of its calories come from fat, and mainly from olive oil which contains great benefits for health. Artificial sugar is highly restricted and nuts are very welcomed in this diet as they contain many health benefits.

olive oil
olive oil

Here is a list of foods that are present in this diet:

Meats and dairy:

Recommended: Poultry, chicken breast, salmon, carp, red mean with moderation, fish, seafood and Greek yogurt.

Occasionally: Duck, bacon, pork, milk, and cheese.

Never: processed beef, sausages, luncheon meats, salted cured meat, fried chicken, nuggets, a lot of red meat.

Grains and starches

Recommended: Bean, peas, lentils, buckwheat, oats, whole wheat, chickpeas, whole grain pasta, and potatoes.

Never: Refined all-purpose flour, white wheat, and all processed grains and starches

Eggs
Recommended: All eggs are encouraged by this diet as they can be cooked in a variety of ways such as boiled, poached and fried with olive oil.

Never: Egg sandwich with white bread, fried rice with eggs and sugar, etc.

Fruits
Recommended: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, strawberries, etc.
NOTE: All fruits are highly encouraged by this diet as they contain a variety of different nutrients and vitamins except for fruit dishes that might contain cake with white flour and sugar.

Vegetables
Recommended:  Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, artichoke, eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, etc.
NOTE: All vegetables are recommended in this diet except for dishes that might contain too much meat, sugar or white flour processed refined bread.

Nuts and seeds
Recommended: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.

Never: Chocolate covered nuts and chocolate bars with nuts or seeds.

Oils, fats, sauces, and sweeteners
Recommended: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, tomato sauce, etc.

Never: Butter, ketchup, barbeque sauce, candies, ice cream, Margarine, sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.

Beverages
Recommended: 1 glass of red wine each day, tea, coffee, water with lemon, green smoothie, etc.

Occasionally: Wine

Never: Sodas, sugared coffee or tea,

Sample Mediterranean one day diet:

Sample Meal Plan 1:

Breakfast:
4 Eggs cooked with olive oil
Whole wheat bread with olives
Oatmeal with berries

Lunch:
Salad of tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, feta cheese, lemon juice, cucumbers, and cabbage
Eggplant dish with squash a meat
Apple and peach

Dinner:
Side lasagne with little cheese
Salmon and brown rice with asparagus

Sample Meal Plan 2:

Breakfast:
Greek yogurt with raisins, oats, dates, and berries
Apple

Lunch:
Tuna pizza with whole wheat bread made traditionally
Vegetable sandwich

Dinner:
Bakes potatoes
Grilled chicken
Mediterranean salad

Snacks:
Almonds, Greek yogurt, leftover dishes, fruits, peanut butter sandwich, etc.

Tips to help you with your Mediterranean diet:

The key thing to remember about this diet is the fact that it is an all natural food way of eating and it includes all fresh food. Every single ingredient put into the recipes or meals has to be fully natural, which means no sugars of any kind, no refined carbohydrates and no excess in eating.

When shopping for the Mediterranean diet, you have to include organic extra virgin olive oil and lots of fish, vegetables and fruits are also a key element of this diet.

Working out is also a big plus if included, people who were studied in Crete, Greece that was the sample for the Mediterranean diet were shown to have a highly active lifestyle which probably contributed to their impressive health statistics.

Mediterranean Diet Summary:

This diet is regarded as one of the best diets of all time, it is very a good choice for long-term health use and the main purpose of this diet is health maintenance. Since it includes a lot of vegetables and fruits, this diet can get away with eating more healthy fats such as nuts, legumes, beans, and olive oil.

If your purpose is to optimize your health in the long run and enjoy what you eat, then this diet is definitely for you, but if your goal is to lose a lot of fat very fast, then this diet is probably going to sabotage your journey of weight loss as it contains a lot of dishes made with a lot of olive oil and fats in general.

If your goal is to lose fat very fast, your best option would probably be a low carb diet

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