Mediterranean diet with its focus on healthy oils, grilled vegetables and meat, high protein ingredients that keep your metabolism in top shape and help in weight management.
Mediterranean diet is actually beneficial for weight loss and more importantly, health in general. In fact, it is hardly a diet, it is a lifestyle.
So the ensuing article focuses on addressing what the Mediterranean Diet comprises of and how it helps you thrive healthily in today’s time of unhealthy eating and poor lifestyle that most of us lead.
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Mediterranean Diet is primarily based on the eating habits of southern European countries, with an emphasis on plant foods, olive oil, fish, poultry, beans, and grains.
There is no single Mediterranean diet but the concept draws together the common food types and healthy eating habits from the traditions of a number of different regions, including Crete, Greece, Spain, southern France, Portugal, and Italy.
Considered to be one of the healthiest diets, the Mediterranean diet is the best diet to follow if you are aiming for weight loss.
Whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as canola and olive oil form the basis of this diet. The key is to eat in moderation and not to starve your body in order to lose weight.
Fast Facts About the Mediterranean Diet
- There is no single diet called Mediterranean diet. It consists of foods from a number of countries and regions including Spain, Greece, and Italy.
- The Mediterranean diet is a great way to replace the saturated fats in the average American diet.
- There is an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and natural sources.
- It is linked to good heart health, protection against diseases such as stroke, and prevention of diabetes.
- Moderation is still advised, as the diet has a high fat content.
- The Mediterranean diet should be paired with an active lifestyle for the best results.
Here is what the Mediterranean diet consists of
The Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables – mostly the water-based sorts that keep your body hydrated.
The dairy-based fats are replaced by vegetable and nut-based oils. Instead of frying, it’s more about sauteeing and grilling. Keep these in mind when preparing your Mediterranean meal.
- Fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, figs, dates, grapes, and melons.
- High consumption of legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and cashews.
- Whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, corn, and brown rice.
- Olive oil as the main source of dietary fat, alongside olives, avocados, and avocado oil.
- Cheese and yoghurt as the main dairy foods, including Greek yoghurt
- Moderate amounts of fish and poultry, such as chicken, duck, turkey, salmon, sardines, and oysters.
- Limited amounts of red meats and sweets.
- Around one glass per day of wine, with water as the main beverage of choice and no carbonated and sweetened drinks.
Given that the prime focus of the Mediterranean diet is plant foods and natural sources,
The Mediterranean diet contains nutrients such as:
1) Healthy Fats
The Mediterranean diet is known to be low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat.
The diet is high in fibre, which promotes healthy digestion and is believed to reduce the risk of bowel cancer and cardiovascular disease.
3) High Vitamin and Mineral Content
Fruits and vegetables provide vital vitamins and minerals, which regulate bodily processes. In addition, the presence of lean meats provides vitamins such as B12 which are not found in plant food.
4) Low Sugar
The diet is high in natural rather than added sugar, for example, in fresh fruits.
Added sugar increases calories without nutritional benefit, is linked to diabetes and high blood pressure and occurs in many of the processed foods absent from the Mediterranean diet.
Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
a) Keeps the Brain Healthy
As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory. Studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.
A Mediterranean diet, comprising of fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish, may help older adults to retain more brain volume.
b) Promotes Heart Health
This diet has proven to reduce risks of cardiovascular mortality, primarily due to its positive impacts on “bad” cholesterol – the oxidized low-density lipoproteins that can accumulate in deposits in your arteries.
Not only is it the food you are eating on a Mediterranean diet that helps keep your cardiovascular system strong, it is also what you are drinking.
Red wine, which the plan encourages in moderation, has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
c) Helps Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes
The emphasis on foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats and high in fibre like fruits and vegetables, fish, and olive oil is what makes the Mediterranean diet so healthy – these have proven to lower blood sugar and cholesterol in diabetics.
Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats show a positive effect on an individual’s insulin sensitivity.
d) Reduces the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease
Many of the benefits offered by this kind of nutritional plan include improved cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and the overall health of your blood vessels themselves.
Together, these benefits work to reduce your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
e) Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
The main way this diet helps people lose weight is that it is easier to stick to in the long-term when compared with many other, more restrictive diets.
Because you still get to eat most of your favourite foods, you will feel satiated and more likely to keep it up.
1. What are the key ingredients in a Mediterranean diet?
It is healthy diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables that are water based. Heart and skin friendly olive oil is the cooking medium. The diet includes lots of low fat grilling and high protein dishes.
2. Can you lose weight with Mediterranean diet?
Yes, it offers a complete high protein meal that keeps you fuller longer. So you eat less subsequently, which helps in weight loss. Even though lots of oils and dairy products are used, these help your bone joints and improve overall heart health.
3. What do you avoid in this diet?
Avoid too much of red meat. In fact, this diet encourages eating grilled chicken which is a healthy lean meat that helps in weight loss. Flat breads are eaten with olive oil rather than butter, again a very healthy eating option.
However, to achieve maximum weight loss benefits from this nutrition plan, you should expect to follow the Mediterranean diet for at least six months.
Also, incorporate some form of regular physical exercise into your lifestyle, and keep an eye on your portions.
To know more such healthy life changes that you can incorporate easily into your lifestyle, talk to our Possible Nutritionist today. The first consultation is on us.