The healthy traditional Mediterranean Diet is consistently judged to be the gold standard in healthy eating. New confirming studies appear regularly in leading scientific journals, and this accumulation strengthens the overwhelming evidence supporting the healthfulness of the dietary pattern of the Mediterranean Diet.
Most recently we’ve seen studies linking the Mediterranean Diet and decreased risk of illnesses such as lung disease and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as protection against allergies and asthma. Besides these amazing health benefits, the Mediterranean Diet is a great way for people to eat healthy food that tastes great. It’s easy to follow the Mediterranean Diet because…
- It’s Rich in anti-oxidants
- Lowers your risk for heart disease along with your blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels
- Helps people who want to lose weight
- Fights cancer
- Protects you from diabetes type 2
- Has anti-inflammatory properties and defends you from chronic diseases
- It’s convenient, tasty and quick!
What would a vegetarian Mediterranean diet plan look like?
With its emphasis on vegetables and whole grains, the Mediterranean diet is easy to adapt to a vegetarian lifestyle. The Mediterranean diet already allows for moderate amounts of dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt and up to four eggs per week. Beans, nuts and seeds can easily replace the traditional protein sources of fish and the occasional red meat. Breakfast ideas would include yogurt with fruit and nuts or whole grain and fruit combinations like steel cut oats with fruit and nuts. Lunch and dinner options could be salads with beans, or bean based soups or entrees with vegetables.
Mediterranean diet food list
To have a healthy diet based on the diet people follow in Mediterranean countries, during the week we should include:
Fresh fruit. Have 3 or 4 pieces of fruit every day. Make one of these fruits an orange; they are very high in antioxidants and phytochemicals, substances that protect us against diseases. Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. are also a must in our diet because of their antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial in the fight against heart disease and cancer. If you really want to follow a Mediterranean diet, eat fruit for desert instead of cake. That’s how Mediterraneans eat their fruit most of the times.
Vegetables. Have a salad with your main meals. Use olive oil and lemon for dressing; you can’t beat this combination when it comes to antioxidants. Tomatoes and tomato products are a staple food in the Mediterranean diet; they contain lycopene, a must ingredient in the fight against heart disease and cancer. Cut a whole tomato and spread it with olive oil and some basil as part of your side dish o include them in your salads. Sauté green beans with olive oil and garlic and you will have a perfect Mediterranean side dish. Zucchini are also a wonderful complement for your main dish; sauté them with olive oil.
Bread. Have a piece of whole wheat or whole grain bread with your main meals except with pasta.
Pasta. Have pasta 2 or 3 times a week. Pasta made with semolina is a good choice; it is low in calories and the fiber leaves you full.
Legumes. Legumes are a staple food in the Mediterranean country. Eat dry beans, lentils, or garbanzo beans 2 or 3 times a week. Nutrition experts at the Michigan State University tell us that eating 2 to 4 cups of cooked legumes every week can protect us against heart disease. Dry beans have the type of fiber that eliminates cholesterol from our bodies. Eat legumes with a piece of whole grain bread and you will have the perfect protein. Vegetable protein does not put a load on our kidneys as animal protein does.
Nuts. Have a handful of nuts as a snack in your morning break. Nuts are also a staple food in Mediterranean countries and are high in monounsaturated fat, the one that does not get stuck in our arteries. Read the food label and be aware of portions because nuts are high in calories. Scientific studies have found that almonds and walnuts are the most beneficial for our health.
Olive oil. Use olive oil in your meals, both to cook and as condiment in your salads. Olive oil is the main source of fat in Mediterranean countries and has been connected to the low incidence of heart disease in those countries. Use olive oil and lemon as dressing in your salads.
Fish and sea food. Have fish and sea food two or three times a week. Salmon and sardines are good choices because they provide omega-3 oils, oils that our body needs but cannot produce or cannot produce in enough quantities.
Garlic and aromatic herbs. Use garlic and aromatic herbs as condiment. Garlic has been found to be a major contributor to the low incidence of high blood pressure in Mediterranean countries because it dilates the blood vessels walls.
Simple Mediterranean Diet Recipes
The Mediterranean area is big. There are more than 13 countries and each country has its regional cuisine and traditions. The Mediterranean style recipes are mostly “Unique plates“. This means cooking healthy foods and mix different healthy nutriments together. You can view a small sample of Mediterranean Diet Recipes here.
Will I lose weight with the Mediterranean diet?
Practical tips to get better results and lose at least 20 pounds in 3 months: Use fruits instead of sweets; Reduce the consumption of cheeses and butter; Consumes at least 4 eggs a week; Replace butter with olive oil; Use the honey instead of sugar; Only eat red meat once a month; Drink 1 glass of red wine (or grape juice) a day; Put in 30 min. of moderate physical activity each day; Drastic weight loss will do more harm than good, so choose a healthy diet.
History of the Mediterranean diet
The history of the Mediterranean diet has millenarian origins. Its principles were already in use from the 4th century under the roman empire. The diet attracted international interest after a study conduced by Dr. Ancel keys at the end of the Second world war. Dr. Keys noticed how the population in the Cilento (southern Italy), was characterized by greater longevity, minor incidence of heart problems and cancer.
The Doctor understood that it was due to the alimentary regimen they followed. Then he decided to undertake a study “Study of the seven countries” in order to verify the health similarities of several Mediterranean populations. Ancel Keys lived in a small village of fishermen (Poplars) in the common of Pollica in province of Salerno,Italy for 40 years. It is passed away in November 2004 at 100 years age.