A Mediterranean diet is not a restricted diet plan. It is a delicious and healthy diet that consists of mainly foods that are enjoyed in the Mediterranean countries. Even though there are slight differences between food types from these countries, the frequency and exclusions are roughly similar. While some people follow this diet as part of their lifestyle, others use it for weight loss and to improve their health and well-being.
What gets many people to like this diet is its lifestyle feature. A lot of emphasis is placed on friendly get-togethers and enjoying meals with friends and family. The intent when having meals is not to follow inflexible meal plans but to increase the quantities of beneficial foods. Food that is considered to be less healthy is simply reduced but is not completely excluded.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
This type of diet delivers a lot of micronutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. This is because of the fact that the Mediterranean diet mainly consists of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans. These foods are helpful in assisting to lower the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. This is good news to those who have heart problems like I do.
What I like about this diet is the constant consumption of avocados and seafood, especially fish. This diet uses olive oil as the key ingredient. This gives those who eat Mediterranean diets good supplies of monounsaturated fats. These types of fats go to a cellular level to combat a number of diseases.
For starters, the high amount of fibre that comes with Mediterranean meals helps, amongst others, to decrease insulin resistance, to improve the digestive processes and to prevent variation of blood sugar. On top of this, the high quantities of plant-based foods, together with olive oil and fish assists in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity amongst Mediterranean dieters.
In the event of your being keen on following the Mediterranean diet, here are some tips on what to consider to get you underway.
Vegetables, Fruits and Whole Grains
Plant-based foods form a big component of a Mediterranean diet. It is advisable to procure fibre rich fruits and vegetables that are in season. To get the most benefit, they should be subjected to little or no processing. Where possible, they should also be consumed raw.
Nutritionists suggest recommend breads made of whole grains where the need for bread arises.
Nuts, Oil, Herbs and Spices
You can give yourself daily allotments of pistachios, walnuts, almonds, cashews, apples, berries, oranges, grapes and baby carrots. Your daily diet can also include legumes such as beans, peas and soy.
A good Mediterranean diet involves strict adherence to the usage of olive oil or canola oil for cooking. Usage of butter and margarine for cooking is not practices at all. Instead of using salt and other artificial seasoning, the Mediterranean diet uses herbs and a variety of spices.
Fish, Meat and Dairy
As mentioned earlier, fish is one of the key ingredients of this diet. It should be included at least once or twice in a week. The more the better. Salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and tuna are the types of fish that are used.
As for other types of meats, they are not consumed regularly but very sparingly. They therefore do not make the basis of a Mediterranean diet. Meats that are processed are totally avoided and red meat is eaten sparingly. On the other hand, chicken and other poultry are part of the diet.
The Mediterranean diets include yoghurt and cheese as part of the meals.
From the food types shown it can be seen that this diet is not low in fat, however it is very low in saturated fat. This is considered to be a key reason for the known health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
What stood out from the food types that are consumed here is that this diet is not low in fat BUT it is low in saturated fat. This is the main reason why this diet is known for good health benefits.
I love my cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and related red wine blends!
Red wine is an accepted part of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. While some research has shown benefits of consuming red wine in moderate amounts, there seems to be a good combined effect in having red wine with this diet. This is not an excuse for over-indulgence. The recommended daily consumption of red wine is one glass per day for ladies and two glasses per day for gentlemen.
The Mediterranean diet is broadly acknowledged as being helpful to the well-being of many people. The original advocates of this diet are known to live mainly free of the lifestyle illnesses that affect those whose nourishment is based on foods are not included in the Mediterranean diet. A number of studies have shown that those who have changed to this diet have made enormous advances to their health and wellbeing.