What is Mediterranean diet: how it helps to stay in good health

The Mediterranean diet is centered on the traditional cuisine that people in Mediterranean nations like France, Spain, Greece, and Italy used to eat.

The patients in this study were extremely healthy and had a low chance of developing a variety of chronic diseases, according to the researchers 

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet also known as the “Cretan diet” and “Greek diet” is a diet and lifestyle known to be healthy and balanced by health professionals, especially dieticians-nutritionists. This ancestral diet, which is mainly made up of plants, incorporates the traditional flavors of the Mediterranean and the classic preparation and cooking methods, simple to reproduce.

Packed with tasty ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet is both indulgent and highly nutritious. In addition, as reported by a well-stocked scientific literature, studies show it is a real healthy diet, since it is associated with a variety of advantages such as reduced risk of cancer.

Why you should follow a Mediterranean diet

Numerous studies have now shown that the Mediterranean diet can promote weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death. This is why the Mediterranean diet is often recommended for those seeking to improve their health and protect themselves against chronic diseases.

As several researchers point out, the Mediterranean diet can help support brain function, reduce the risk of cancer, promote cardiovascular health, or regulate blood sugar. Although there are no fixed rules on how to follow the Mediterranean diet, and it is adaptable depending on the country, there are essential notions to follow to integrate the basic principles of the diet into a routine daily.

Mediterranean diet is as part of a healthy lifestyle, physical activity, sufficient sleep, moderate alcohol consumption, no tobacco, etc.

What foods are in Mediterranean diet

Although there are no particular dietary guidelines, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats are often encouraged. Refined cereals, processed meals, and added sugar should all be avoided.

Based on the traditional cuisines of the populations around the Mediterranean consisting Italy, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, etc, the food of the Mediterranean diet is essentially made up of plants, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. On the other hand, olive oil is the main source of added fat, while fish, seafood, dairy products and poultry are included in moderation, and red meat and sweets are not included. are consumed only occasionally.

What is the Mediterranean diet is based on?

The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle based on traditional foods that people ate in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Spain, Greece, and Italy. The researchers noted that these people were exceptionally healthy and had a low risk of developing many chronic diseases or the risks of cancer.

Although there are no strict rules or regulations for the Mediterranean diet, it generally encourages fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Processed and ultra-processed foods (TUE), added sugars and refined grains should be limited or totally banned.

What foods do the best Mediterranean diet consists of?

Although there is no defined Mediterranean diet, this diet is generally high in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal foods, with an emphasis on fish and seafood.

Regardless of where in the world a person adapts mostly local products and practices this healthy diet, it has been associated in the long term with many beneficial effects for health better digestion, etc.

What are the main benefits of the Mediterranean diet

As mentioned previously, Mediterranean diet has numerous health benefits.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Research shows that the Mediterranean diet may even be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It would also be effective in slowing the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis), which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Other studies show that the Mediterranean diet may also help lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels to promote heart health.

Maintains blood sugar levels

not only that but also improves glycated hemoglobin (or HbA1c) levels and decrease insulin resistance. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet supports healthy blood sugar levels, and reduces risk factors risk of metabolic syndrome. Indeed, the Mediterranean diet encourages a variety of foods rich in vitamins, trace minerals, and nutrients, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. In this way, following this eating pattern can help stabilize blood sugar and protect against type 2 diabetes.

Improves brain function

also improves cognitive function, memory, and attention. Several scientific studies show that the Mediterranean diet may benefit human brain health and may even protect against cognitive decline as we age. Indeed, researchers regularly confirm that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with improved memory and a reduction in several risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to follow the Mediterranean diet

To follow the Mediterranean diet, in addition to an essential healthy lifestyle such as physical activity as for all other diets as vegetarian diet, ketogenic diet, low-fat diet, paleo diet, etc, it is necessary to consume the right ingredients.

What are Mediterranean foods

The Mediterranean diet is not one of the restrictive diets. However, exactly which foods to eat in the Mediterranean diet are sometimes controversial, in part because there are variations between countries. Furthermore, the diet examined by most studies is rich in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal products and meat. However, it is recommended to eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. The choice of this diet also implies prioritizing local and natural foods, even from organic farming when possible.

Of course, it is possible to include a mix of fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables, but it is important to check package labels for added sugar and sodium.

Finally, the Mediterranean lifestyle also involves regular physical activity, sharing meals with other people, and minimizing stress levels.

What to eat

It is advisable to eat in particular vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, fresh herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

healthy mediterranean foods

Vegetables of this diet are tomatoes, broccoli, kale, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips. Fruits include apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches. Herbs and spices includes garlic clove, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper.

Nuts, seeds and nut butters such as almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter. Legumes of this diet are beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas.

Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat bread and pasta.

Fish and seafood includes salmon, sardines (rich in omega 3), trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels. Poultry meat comes from chicken, duck, turkey. Eggs: eggs from chickens, quails and ducks (free-range animals).

Dairy products as cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk (especially sheep’s milk). Healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.

Mediterranean diet drinks

Water should be the drink of choice on a Mediterranean diet. On the other hand, this diet also includes moderate amounts of red wine about one glass per day.

However, this is completely optional and wine should be avoided by certain people, including pregnant women, people who have difficulty drinking in moderation or who take certain medications that may interact with alcohol.

It should be noted that coffee and tea are also drinks considered healthy in the Mediterranean diet, but with a rare or almost zero addition of sugar or cream.

Sugary drinks such as soda, industrial sweetened tea, fruit juice and other modern industrial drinks must be consumed with great care and included with as much moderation as possible.

What to eat in moderation

Foods to eat in moderation are eggs, poultry, cheese and yogurt, wine.

What to avoid

Those to consume rarely are sugary drinks, added sugars, red meat, processed meat, refined cereals, refined oils and other ultra-processed foods (UTCs).

Added sugar is found in many foods, but is especially high in sodas, candies, ice cream, table sugar, syrup, and baked goods (pastries).

Refined cereals such as white bread, pasta, tortillas, chips, crackers should be avoided

Trans fats found in margarine, fried foods and other processed foods. Trans fatty acids are known to increase blood levels of LDL.

Refined oils should be avoided too. Such as soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil.

Processed meats including processed sausages, hot dogs, cold meats, beef jerky, hamburgers, and highly processed foods such as fast food, ready meals, microwave popcorn.

In order to practice this healthy diet with as much information as possible, it may be useful to consult a dietician-nutritionist in addition to consulting and browsing the many books and websites on the subject.

What are Mediterranean dish

To create dishes and menus, it is important to take into account the seasons, the place geographical area, to adapt to the foods available and to the budget. Also, do not hesitate to adjust portions and food choices according to individual needs and preferences.

In order to enjoy the likely benefit of this diet, it is generally not necessary to count daily calories or track macronutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the Mediterranean diet.

However, many recipe ideas are available in the press, on the Internet and in books in bookstores, in order to eat balanced and healthy without complexity.

Conclusion

This diet ensures healthy eating habits for the whole family, in particular thanks to a daily consumption of legumes, an abundance of fruit and a balanced intake of healthy fats. However, as with all types of diets, it is essential to have a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits as good chewing, quality of cooking, etc. to take full advantage of all the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

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