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What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world, according to nutritionists. It is based on the least possible amount of processed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil and lean meat.
It is in the attention of the experts, putting it first in several categories, as well as the healthiest of diets, the easiest to follow, the best diet for heart health that includes foods that your body needs and at the same time helps you lose weight.
How did the Mediterranean diet appear?
The Mediterranean diet is based on the diet of the Parasouda, followed by the inhabitants of Crete; to have a healthy life, the absence of restrictions is stricter, making it suitable for almost anyone.
Since 1950, health professionals have started studies on the nutrition of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean. People in Greece, especially those in Crete, had the longest life expectancy until the 1960s, followed by residents of southern Italy, Spain, and France.
The first, considered the father of the Mediterranean Diet, to suggest the interconnection between diet and disorders such as diabetes, obesity and vascular diseases was the Italian Lorenzo Piroddi, in 1939, a doctor specializing in nutrition, although such a set of More systematic studies to detect connections between food and cardiovascular disease, was the American doctor Ancel Keys.
He promoted the Seven-Countries-Study study and research program linking the populations of Crete in Greece and Nicotera in Calabria with their respective diets, which, although rich in “vegetable fats” such as olive oil, recorded the index lower number of cardiovascular diseases.
Other data link the Mediterranean diet with the habits of the Spanish, Italians and Greeks in the 1960s, when healthy eating was in vogue.
The Mediterranean diet has become known over time not only for how it helps to reduce weight but also because it supports heart health, fights cancer, and keeps
blood sugar level constant.
While most of us are familiar with the diet concept, few know exactly what a proper meal plan should include.
Establishing a meal plan is one of the best ways to meet your nutritional needs and
stay on track toward achieving your goals.
Today, it is essentially the choice of foods and their correct combination for a proper calorie intake. For an adult human being, about 2,500 calories are needed per day: 70% carbohydrates, 20% lipids, and 10% protein.
Basic principles of the Mediterranean diet
As the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world, there is much evidence to testify to its merits in terms of increasing life expectancy and reducing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other life-threatening diseases.
On the other hand, according to a study in Spain, for every 10,000 people, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 50% decrease in the risk of depression.
Countless pieces of evidence highlight the Mediterranean diet’s essential role in maintaining long-term health and weight control.
What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is configured as an undoubtedly dietary but also healthy, allowing you to lose weight by continuing to eat everything and, most importantly, in a healthy way.
Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
According to studies, adopting a healthy diet helps reduce the risk of heart disease in the long term (the volunteers’ diet was followed for five years).
The study results showed that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death on the background of heart disease by up to 30%. It is good to know that the people studied also exercised daily and regularly went for a (preventive) medical check-up.
According to a study in 2019, the Mediterranean diet helps to achieve restful sleep in the adult population. The results were not identical for the young people who followed the diet.
Stimulates memory and prevents cognitive decline
Rich in beneficial fats for the brain, the Mediterranean diet supports brain activity and prevents dementia.
It helps you lose weight.
According to one study, overweight people who follow the Mediterranean diet lose more weight and have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and other conditions associated with cognitive decline.
Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
The carotenoids in spinach and kale help improve mood. According to the researchers, those who follow a Mediterranean diet have a much lower risk of depression than others.
The Mediterranean diet improves the physical endurance of athletes and helps them achieve better results after just four days.
The scientists made this discovery in an experimental study, which tracked the impact of the Mediterranean diet on athletic performance using the sequential, random cross-sectional technique.
Specifically, they recruited seven women and four men, who were asked to run five kilometres at two different times: once after four days following the Mediterranean diet, according to the book and, on another occasion, after another four days of the typical Western diet.
For the accuracy of the results, the study authors allowed 9-16 days to pass between the two tests.
Higher speed, no extra effort. Without exception, the participants recorded a better time in the chosen sample after maintaining the Mediterranean diet, running the five kilometres, on average, 6% more strategy than after consuming the Western diet.
Interestingly, the tests did not reveal any difference in heart rate or assessment of perceived exertion.
The Mediterranean diet fights many severe diseases and is worth following, especially for its benefits on cardiovascular health. It is a significant advantage: it helps control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Those who adopt the Mediterranean diet also have a lower risk of cancer, type II diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s. If you want to lose weight or declare health, the Mediterranean diet is ideal because it includes tasty and healthy food.
The inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, cheese, yogurt and legumes.
The primary source of fat is unrefined olive oil. Protein comes from fish and chicken, while red meat is rarely eaten. People eat fatty foods in Greece, Spain or Italy and enjoy a glass of wine.
However, they are not fattening because their starter is healthy, and the portions are reasonable in food and alcohol.
It helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
The Mediterranean diet is based on whole grains and healthy carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Studies show that the daily introduction of complex carbohydrates (found in barley, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) helps regulate blood sugar.
Following the Mediterranean diet is linked to a much better bone and muscle structure for women who have gone through menopause.
As bones become brittle and muscles are also affected after menopause, the Mediterranean diet is good news for women.
The Mediterranean diet can prevent type 2 diabetes and can help improve blood sugar levels; in fact, people with type 2 diabetes who followed this diet noticed that they felt better, they normalized their blood sugar level, and they managed to lose weight.
Protects the body against cancer
The studies concluded that those who adopted the Mediterranean diet had a 13% lower risk of cancer death than those who did not.
Regulates the intestinal flora
A study has shown that introducing vegetables, fruits and legumes (lentils, sweet potatoes, beans, etc.) is associated with having a longer life by eating healthy foods.
The study showed
Mediterranean diet – Foods allowed
If you want to follow this diet to lose weight, you must enter the following food categories into your daily schedule.
Vegetables: Tomato, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Green Salad, Arugula, Spinach, Onion, Carrot, Cucumber.
Fruits: Apple, Grape, Figs, Strawberry, Pear, Banana, Peach, Melon.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Cashews, pistachios, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Macadamia Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseed, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds.
Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips.
Eggs: chicken, quail and duck eggs.
Dairy: cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt.
Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, fish oil.
Fish and seafood: Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Pangasius, Trout, Sardines, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels, and Mollusks.
Spices and herbs: Garlic, Basil, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Pepper, Cinnamon, Thyme, Sage, Marjoram, Sweet paprika, Fennel
In conclusion, single-ingredient foods are the key to good health.
Drinks allowed in the Mediterranean diet
- Water should be your staple diet drink.
- You can consume coffee in moderate quantities and natural teas without sugar.
- A glass of red wine a day is also allowed, but no abuse.
What foods to avoid in the Mediterranean diet?
- Sugar products: carbonated juices, ice creams, sweets, breakfast cereals with sugar, cakes, etc.
- Refined cereals: white bread, pasta, white rice.
- Refined oils: soybean oil, rapeseed oil, margarine fats
- Processed foods: Commercially processed meat sausages, hot dogs, etc.
How can you have a Mediterranean diet?
- Eat in small portions.
- Eat at least three times a day.
- Ideally, have five meals, three main meals, and two snacks.
- Eat slowly, and enjoy food together with family and friends.
- Limit your consumption of red meat.
- Eat fish or shellfish at least twice a week.
- Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits in season.
- Instead of salt, use Mediterranean spice blends.
- Limit alcohol consumption (a glass of red wine is consumed at the Mediterranean table)
- Choose olive oil in cooking and salads.
- As a carbohydrate source, choose whole grains.
- Eliminate sausages and other undercooked meats from the daily diet.
- Reduce the consumption of sweets and cakes and opt for fruits.
- When you need a snack, eat nuts. peanuts, and seeds, which contain a good starter.
- The healthiest variants are mackerel, trout, salmon, herring, and tuna.
Food for shopping
If you have planned this year to change your lifestyle to a healthy one, then the shopping list should not be lacking: fruits, vegetables, nuts, nuts, seeds, whole wheat bread, fish, shellfish and extra virgin olive oil.
Mediterranean Diet Menu for five days
You would like to integrate it into your lifestyle, but don’t you know what that means? To get an idea, we offer you a complete Mediterranean-style menu, perfect for the days of the week.
|Monday||Greek yogurt with strawberries and oatmeal||Sandwich with whole wheat bread and vegetables||Salad with olive oil and lemon dressing; a fruit|
|Tuesday||Porridge with raisins||Sautéed vegetables and mozzarella||Salad with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese|
|Wednesday||Scrambled eggs with vegetables, tomatoes and onions||Sandwich of whole wheat bread with cheese and fresh vegetables||Mediterranean vegetable lasagna|
|Thursday||Yogurt with pieces of fruit and nuts||Lasagna leftover from the night before||Brown rice and vegetables|
|Friday||220g of milk, three dry-type cookies with berry jam||80g of ragout noodles, seasoned cheese and raw ham, a sandwich||120g of grilled fish with little oil, potato and tomato salad, 60g of whole wheat bread|
The information published in this article is for informational purposes and not to replace medical treatment.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.