They base the Mediterranean diet on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries such as Italy and Greece in 1960.
The researchers noted that these people were healthy compared to Americans, and they had a low risk of developing many diseases resulting from the lifestyle.
Several studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can cause weight loss, help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and untimely death.
There is no single correct way to follow the Mediterranean diet, as there are many countries around the Mediterranean, and people may eat different foods in each of them.
Here we will learn about the Mediterranean diet.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet includes fresh produce and some healthy fats and oils.
Following a Mediterranean diet means eating the way people in the Mediterranean have traditionally eaten.
The traditional Mediterranean diet includes a large portion of fresh produce, whole grains and legumes, and some healthy fats and fish.
The general guidelines for this diet recommend that people eat: a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and olive oil, moderate amounts of dairy and fish, very little white meat and red meat, and little eggs.
The American Heart Association notes that the Mediterranean diet is high in calories from fat.
Although more than half of the calories from fat come from monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, the diet may not be suitable for people. People who need to limit their fat intake.
Mediterranean diet rules
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes some basic rules that you must follow if you decide to follow this diet, which are:
- Eat mainly plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
- Replace the butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil.
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to foods.
- Limit red meat, which you should not eat it more than several times a month.
- Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week.
- Enjoying meals with family and friends.
- Get plenty of exercise and get regular.
Mediterranean diet and healthy fats
The focus of the Mediterranean diet is not on reducing total fat intake, but on making wise choices about the fats you eat.
The Mediterranean diet does not encourage saturated fats and hydrogenated oils, both of which contribute to heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet features olive oil as the main source of fat.
Olive oil provides monounsaturated fats, a type of fat that can help reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol when used in place of saturated or unsaturated fats.
Extra-virgin olive oils also contain the highest levels of plant protective compounds that provide antioxidant effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which we can get from fish, associate with lowering triglycerides, reducing blood clotting, shrinking sudden heart attacks, improving blood vessel health and helping to reduce blood pressure.
What should you eat on this diet?
If you follow the Mediterranean diet, you must know some basics about the foods you should eat and the foods you should avoid.
During this diet, it is possible to eat some foods. Like: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs and spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
And eat moderation in poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt, and limit the intake of red meat.
Although controlling foods that belong to the Mediterranean diet is controversial in part. Because there are some differences between the foods of the Mediterranean countries.
The diet that has settled and examined by most studies is a diet high in healthy plant foods and relatively low in foods Animal.
However, we recommend that you eat fish and seafood at least twice a week.
The Mediterranean diet lifestyle also includes regular physical activity.
On the Mediterranean diet, base your diet on:
- Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, legumes, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
- Whole grains: whole grain oats, brown rice, barley, corn, whole wheat, wholegrain bread.
- Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, etc.
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
- Eggs: chicken, quail, and duck eggs.
- Dairy products: cheese, yogurt, etc.
- Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
- Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocado and avocado oil.
What should you abstain from eating?
During this diet, completely abstain from: sugar-sweetened drinks, added sugars, processed meats, refined grains, refined oils, and other processed foods.
You should avoid these unhealthy foods and ingredients:
- Added sugar: Soda, candy, ice cream, and more.
- Refined grains: white bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
- Unsaturated fats: which we can find in margarine and various processed foods.
- Refined oils: such as soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and others.
- Processed meats: such as hamburger and hot dogs.
You must read food labels carefully if you want to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
If you are looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet may be for you.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease.
It has associated this diet with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein / bad cholesterol (LDL), which is likely to lead to plaque buildup in the arteries.
A meta-analysis, an analytical method designed to systematically evaluate and summarize results from several individual studies leading to an increase in the sample size in question, of over 1.5 million healthy adults, showed that following a Mediterranean diet associated with a lower risk of cardiac death and mortality overall.
It also links the Mediterranean diet to a reduction in cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
For these reasons, most, if not all, major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt to the eating style used in this diet to prevent major chronic diseases.
A 2013 study by the University of Barcelona explained the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health.
The study relied on over 7,000 Spanish participants, many of whom were overweight, smokers or diabetics.
But had been following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in healthy fats such as olive oil or nuts for nearly five years.
After a comprehensive follow-up, the researchers finished the study early after noticing a sharp improvement in the health of the participants.
And the results showed the absolute limit of health risks and a 30% reduction in cardiovascular disease among these at-risk individuals.
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are clear from a medical perspective.
Although weight loss is not the primary intention of this diet. It is something that happens automatically after eating more plant foods and reducing sugar and red meat.
The high-fiber content of many whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes included in the Mediterranean diet will help you feel full for longer.
And reduce the chance of overeating, enabling you to gain additional benefits such as digestive health and effective weight management.
The Mediterranean diet can also be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, by helping to lower blood glucose levels while promoting good HDL cholesterol.
For heart patients:
Eating nuts, green vegetables, and lean meat are among the things that help preserve the heart muscle and reduce the chances of some diseases.
Following the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease by 25%, which makes this diet one of the most important diets that can follow from before heart patients and people prone to heart disease.
In addition, following this diet improves blood flow in blood vessels, reduces the amount of plaque present in the arteries. And increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin resistance.
Mediterranean Diet Program
Vegetables and fruits make up the bulk of the Mediterranean diet, besides legumes and whole grains that not peeled.
When preparing dishes that fall under the Mediterranean diet menu. Pay attention to the type of oils used and add a little fat-free meat and poultry to avoid harmful Fats.
Besides drinking more Water as one of the most important things in this diet, and among the regulations that you can follow:
Breakfast includes a medium-sized fried egg besides a piece of brown toast and one grilled tomato, and avocado slices can also add to get higher calories.
The lunch meal preferably contains a medium-sized salad bowl with olive oil and vinegar with 60 grams of Ground chickpeas and a portion of bread slices, the dinner is a kind of snack and comprises one to two pieces of pizza made using whole grains with all the vegetables that a person prefers.
The second day:
Breakfast comprises a cup of yogurt with half a cup of fruits such as berries, nectarines and chopped apricots added to it.
Besides a few almond slices to boost calories, and lunch comprises a sandwich of grilled vegetables with a small amount of olive oil added to it.
And the dinner meal is 30 grams of grilled marinated salmon and pieces of grilled potatoes.
The third day:
Breakfast comprises one cup of oatmeal mixed with cinnamon and honey, with the addition of pieces of dates and berries and a handful of grated almonds. The lunch meal comprises boiled white beans flavored with spices with a cup of watercress salad and tomatoes added to it with olive oil, the dinner meal comprises half a cup from homemade pasta and tomato sauce.
The downsides of this system
There are a few negatives that threaten following a Mediterranean diet. Because it includes eating healthy foods in moderation.
And one of the few negatives that some face is that they forget that exercise and social aspects are a major contributor to making Mediterranean people healthy.
The lifestyle of the entire Mediterranean countries matters.
Those wishing to follow this system should look at this matter with greater care. So they must engage in physical activity, share meals with other people, and enjoy life.