Low-Carb and Mediterranean: The Perfect Diet Marriage
The Mediterranean diet has long occupied the throne of being world’s healthiest diet. This fact alone speaks volumes about just how thoroughly positively life-changing this diet is when adapted properly. Would it then still be a surprise if the low-carb variation of the Mediterranean diet can trump any other low-carb diet that even the savviest of diet experts can put forward?
If it so happens that you are planning to start with a low-carb diet regimen, you should certainly look no further than this crowning glory of all healthy diets. Why? Well, for one, the Mediterranean diet is naturally low in carbohydrates. Yes, bread is still part of it, but it’s arguably in the minority, constituting only 40% of the calories you consume per meal.
Even so, this too can be easily adjusted. In fact, bread is only one of the few aspects of the diet that needs to be modified in order for it to become fully low-carb. It could even be considered as the perfect marriage, as proven by the numerous healthy changes that a low-carb Mediterranean diet does to the body. This is backed up by studies conducted on the subject; the very same studies which confirmed that a Mediterranean diet low on carbs is better than a low-carb heart-healthy diet in curbing diabetes and heart disease.
Crafting the Perfect Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet Plan
A simple look at a standard Mediterranean food list should prove to be enough to quell any lingering doubts you might have about the diet promoting naturally low-carb eating. We’ll expound on this further by detailing how you can easily plan plenty of low carb Mediterranean diet food list just by merely doing a few tweaks to it.
Steer Clear of “White” Carbs
Since you’re going low-carb, taking care of the primary carbohydrate sources should be your primary priority. The Mediterranean diet usually encourages the consumption of high-quality whole grain, but most of the time, people still include white bread, pasta, or rice in it. These should be severely minimized, if not completely made off-limits. Even whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat breads should be limited. Opt for quinoa and other whole grains more.
Capitalize on the Fruits and Veggies
The diet includes a hefty list of vegetables, ranging from tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers, to Romaine lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. Pretty much what occupies your standard list of essential veggies. Of course, it would be best to eat more of these nutrition-packed foods if you’re going low-carb. One caveat we’re just going to make is to try to limit your consumption of starchy vegetables. Beans and potatoes are still part of the diet, after all.
Regarding fruits, you should be extra careful with their sugar content. They shouldn’t be sacrificed, though, for many of them contain essential antioxidants. Go for oranges, berries, apples, and pears for lower sugar content.
Bring on the Spices
Having more flavor in your dishes only ever makes healthy eating more enjoyable. Since you’re going to be doing this on a daily basis, why not unleash the full power of the Mediterranean cuisine by unlocking all the spices in its arsenal? May it be the ever-reliable basil and parsley or the more taste-bud inducing cumin and oregano, don’t hesitate to add more spices to your meals. Recipes that call for lemon, another mainstay in this diet, shouldn’t also be overlooked.
Don’t Forget Your Protein
Low-carb diets usually call for moderate consumption of protein to prevent ketosis. Since the Mediterranean diet calls for low red meat consumption, it’s best to acquire your protein from better alternatives like lamb, eggs, chicken, tofu, and fish. Some legumes like lentils and chickpeas are also high in protein so you should certainly look into adding them more.
Brave the Dairy and Don’t Skimp on the Olive Oil
There’s a common misconception that dairy is bad for you. What’s good is that this is not being corrected by recent studies. Why would it be included in the world’s healthiest diet in the first place? For one, nothing beats the health benefits of Greek yogurt, especially when it comes to promoting optimal digestion, besides making you feel fuller or providing more energy.
And who can forget olive oil which is practically a staple of this diet? Olive oil already has a reputation for promoting heart health, thanks to it being a potent source of healthy fats. If there’s one oil you should drizzle freely on your salads, cooked meals, and side dishes, it’s olive oil.
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