The Mediterranean Diet is globally ranked among the best diets. It’s linked to innumerable benefits, ranging from longevity to weight loss. It’s really difficult to fault this diet. Countless studies have repeatedly found it as among the healthiest ways one can possibly live.
Why Start the Mediterranean Diet?
When you combine healthy, balanced eating with flexible and flavorful recipes, the result is an ideal diet that’s much simpler to start and stick with. And, that’s just the perfect description of the Mediterranean Diet.
It has way fewer restrictions, unlike other diets like Paleo and Keto. It’s also linked to lower cholesterol, weight loss, and reduced risk of heart diseases.
What Foods are Recommended in the Mediterranean Diet?
- Vegetables and fruits
- Olive oils
- Herbs and spices
- Whole grains and non-processed soy
- Pulses (beans and legumes)
- Nuts and seeds
- Seafood and poultry
What Foods are Recommended in the Mediterranean Diet But in Moderation?
- Red meat
- Natural sweeteners
- Alcohol (binge-drinking is off-limits)
What Foods are Not Recommended by the Mediterranean Diet?
- Processed foods (containing preservatives and trans fats)
- Refined Oils
- Added & artificial sugars
Pros & Cons of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet might just be the ideal diet for you, depending on what your current diet and health goals are. Most importantly, you should consult your doctor before implementing any major diet changes.
Pros – The Mediterranean Diet
- It’s rather based around proper and balanced nutrition than dietary extremes
- It helps lower cholesterol levels
- It can help ensure blood pressure levels are kept low
- The recommended foods supply sufficient energy for exercise and other physical activities
Cons – The Mediterranean Diet
- Food intake may end up being low in protein, particularly if not enough seeds, nuts, dairy, and fish are consumed
- Craving for red meat can render it difficult to stick with this diet in the long run
- Blood sugar levels can fluctuate if the wrong types of carbohydrates are chosen
How to Start the Mediterranean Diet
We’d be wrong to assert it’s really a diet. The Mediterranean Diet barely instructs on what one should or shouldn’t eat. It’s more of a certain lifestyle which encourages consumption of all food groups but emphasizes on those that provide the most health and wellness benefits.
It’s mainly about straightforward rules which should be followed sustainably to enjoy natural health benefits. Below, we’ve compiled a simplified guide on how you can start the Mediterranean Diet. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to adopt this diet.
Focus on Plants
The Mediterranean Diet lays a strong emphasis on plants: vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and seeds. You’re encouraged to eat lots of vegetables, making use of all kinds to get the most extensive range of nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals possible.
You can roast or garnish the vegetables with herbs, adding a little extra virgin olive oil. Consider adding fruits and whole grains to every meal you take. However, use seeds and nuts as your garnish because of their high fat and calorie content.
Stack Up on Seafood & Limit Other Kinds of Meats
The Mediterranean Diet recommends consumption of fish (or other seafood) at least 1-2 times a week. Sardines, for instance, are a Mediterranean staple. And, they’re a really simple and cost-effective means of getting more seafood into your diet.
Fresh salmon is an excellent way to get omega-3 fats, too. Besides, you don’t need lots of salmon to get its health benefits. Here is a great recipe for a fish soup.
Take yogurt or cheese on a regular basis, but in moderate portions. Eggs and chicken are okay when taken occasionally. However, you should limit your intake of other kinds of meat and sweets.
Most people believe meals are built around portions of chicken, red meat, or pork. If you’re a believer of the same, then the idea of committing to a plant-based diet might sound overwhelming. However, you’re not being asked to make an entire overhaul overnight to help shift your health.
Mediterranean people are popularly known to take coffee after having meals to help with their digestion. But, we recommend drinking pure, natural water. Take as much as you require. You can add some fresh fruits, green tea, or mint for an appealing flavor.
Move Around, Eat, and Socialize Joyfully
Oldways (https://oldwayspt.org/recipes) is a non-profit organization that mainly focuses on nutrition and good health. It encourages healthy eating by using traditional diets which are based on Asian, African, and Mediterranean heritage.
Oldways collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Harvard’s School of Public Health to design the Mediterranean Diet pyramid back in 1993. Of keen interest is that the pyramid’s ground level doesn’t bear anything about food. Instead, it places the most emphasis on mindfully eating with family and friends, socializing over meals, and exercising.
Socialize for 20 minutes or more over each meal. Many people might have a difficult time implementing that but one can start small. Put away your cell phones, turn off your TV, and focus on having meaningful conversations. You can chew slowly, pausing between bites.
As for the exercise aspect, you shouldn’t necessarily have to go to a gym. Instead, walk with family and friends. Exercise shouldn’t be thought of as something one needs to do. Simply move, walk, or dance joyfully.
4 Tips for Achieving Success with the Mediterranean Diet
Opt for oil instead of butter. Cook everything, from vegetables, eggs, and fish to lean meats in the herby, healthy olive oil.
Take all the produce, followed by some. You’re on the right track if more than half of your plate is filled with vegetables and/or fruits.
Take limited amounts of meat. You need not swear off steak or bacon for life. However, for proteins you’re taking on the regular, try sticking to oily fish such as salmon, sardines, pulses, and eggs.
Lay off processed stuff. Avoid those pre-made, preservative-laden meals, artificially-colored sweets, and trans-fat-filled chips. Replace such with fresh, unprocessed foods.
Make It All Fun
The Mediterranean Diet is less of a typical diet than a lifestyle one. A considerable part of this diet is about viewing meals as a way to connect with others and relax. It’s not just about eating real, whole foods. It’s also about enjoying during mealtimes.
Everything we’ve discussed in this piece is intended at making it easy to start the Mediterranean Diet. And, having fun makes it even simpler. So, find the fun in food and exercise. Within no time, you’ll be on the right track towards adopting the healthy lifestyle you’ve always desired.
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