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What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
Nowadays, the Mediterranean diet, or traditional diet of Spain, Southern France and Italy, Greece, and other countries of the Mediterranean region, is growing more and more popular since a great number of studies and scientific research have proven its positive effects on our health. A great deal of people around the world choose healthy Mediterranean diet foods and the Mediterranean diet plan as an alternative to usual precessed foods, semi-cooked foods or unhealthy commercially produced packed food like chips, popcorn, bakery, sweet foods, etc, so commonly consumed in modern Europe and the US. If you are thinking of going Mediterranean and want to learn more about this healthy diet, read on.
The basics of the Mediterranean diet include the following. Daily diet is based strictly on foods like fruits and vegetables, fish, beans, and low fat dairy products. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet foods include seeds, nuts, and whole grains. Consumption of red meat (especially fatty), cheese, butter and other types of high-fat dairy products, as well as sweet foods, is pretty much limited. A great role is played by olive oil, and adding this oil as a natural source of healthy fats to virtually every dish is one of the most important rules in this diet. Using healthy cooking styles like grilling (especially for fish and meat) is essential. Finally, the Mediterranean diet plan can include a glass of high quality red wine, maybe a couple of glasses – for men.
The Mediterranean Diet Foods
The Mediterranean diet foods include mainly:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Low fat red meat and poultry
- Low-fat yogurt
- Olive oil
The Mediterranean Diet Benefits
So what is the Mediterranean diet miracle which makes this type of diet so popular? Packed with fresh ingredients, healthy fats and plenty of essential nutrients, this diet can provide you with a number of health benefits that come from tasty and filling meals. First of all, the Mediterranean diet plan used on a daily basis can work to those who are at risk of developing serious cardiovascular diseases and suffer from high cholesterol. The Mediterranean diet is rich in healthy fats (coming from olive oil, seeds, and nuts) essential for lowering LDL bad cholesterol levels, therefore, by using the Mediterranean diet plan and foods we can substantially reduce our risks of heart disease, a stroke, a heart attack (especially the second heart attack), and other serious cardiovascular diseases.
Besides, rich in whole grains, beans, greens, and other natural high-fiber foods, the Mediterranean diet is considered beneficial for our digestive health. It can be used to prevent type 2 diabetes, speed up metabolism and prevent metabolic syndrome. Choosing the Mediterranean diet plan instead of any other unhealthy alternative will help you maintain normal body weight and prevent obesity, provide your body with plenty of natural nutrients and microelectronics essential for normal function of all body organs and systems. Finally, studies have shown that antioxidants and other compounds in the Mediterranean plan can prevent various types of cancer. mainly breast, endometrium, prostate, and stomach cancer.
According to the findings of a recent study, this amazing diet is very good not only to our physical, but also to our mental health. An expert team from the University of Las Palmas conducted a series of experiments and found out that the Mediterranean diet is linked to considerably lower risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, mood swings, and other mental and psychological disorders. Dr. Patricia Henríquez Sánchez, one of the study leaders, said: “the Mediterranean diet is an important factor associated with better quality of life and can be considered as a healthy food model.” The findings of this study were recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and they have proven the importance of adhering to the Mediterranean diet as an effective tool to maintain excellent health and optimum life quality.
The Mediterranean Diet Tips
Want to know more and find a more complete answer to the question what is the Mediterranean diet? Check out some useful tips and recommendations to those who want to use the Mediterranean food pattern and benefit most from the daily diet.
- Tend to be vegetarian rather than consuming plenty of red meat (even if you choose healthy cooking styles). The recommended amount of red meat is 4-6 portions a month.
- Eat fish, grilled, roasted, or possibly steamed, at least two times a week.
- Use fruits as desserts after meals. Eat traditional desserts like cakes, cookies, pudding, and so on, at most two times a week.
- Dress your salads with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice, and always add plenty of seeds (flax-seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.).
- Avoid using fat dairy products. Use only low fat cheese and yogurt, switch from 2 per cent milk to 1 per cent milk.
- Do not serve dairy products next to fish, it can cause stomach problems.
- If you are not happy with fresh fruit for dessert, try dried fruit like raisins, dried apricot, figs, or dates. Also, you can try baking your fruit instead of consuming them fresh. Try baking some apples with a pinch of cinnamon – you’ll like this kind of dessert, for sure!
- Use more herbs and spices like curry, hot peppers, cinnamon, mint, thyme, and others, instead of salt and all those unhealthy sauces like mayonnaise.
- Try hummus, one of the healthiest meals of the Mediterranean diet plan, and a very delicious ones, too!
- Do not forget to combine your healthy Mediterranean diet with consuming plenty of water and staying active!