Full of flavorful ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and heart-healthy fats, Mediterranean food is just as delicious and nutritious. It is also linked to a variety of benefits and can help boost brain function, promote heart health, control blood sugar and more.
Although there are no hard and fast rules for following the Mediterranean diet, there are many general guidelines that you can follow to incorporate dietary principles into your daily routine.
This article takes a closer look at what Mediterranean food is, how to follow it, and how it can affect your health.
What is Mediterranean Diet?
Mediterranean food is based on traditional foods that are commonly eaten by people in Mediterranean countries, including France, Spain, Greece and Italy. The researchers found that these people were very healthy and had a lower risk of many chronic diseases.
Although there are no strict rules or regulations for dieting, it generally encourages heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fats. Processed foods, added sugars and refined grains should be limited.
Numerous studies show that the Mediterranean diet can promote weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death. For this reason, the Mediterranean diet is often recommended for people who want to improve their health and protect themselves from chronic diseases.
The Mediterranean diet has a long list of health benefits.
Promoting heart health
The Mediterranean diet has been extensively studied for its ability to promote heart health. In fact, studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
One study compared the effects of a Mediterranean diet with a low-fat diet and found that a Mediterranean diet is more effective in slowing down the formation of plaque in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Other research suggests that the Mediterranean diet may also help lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure to support heart health.
Supports healthy blood sugar levels
Mediterranean food promotes a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and heart-healthy fats. Therefore, following this diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Interestingly, numerous studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can lower fasting blood sugar and increase hemoglobin A1C, a marker used to measure long-term blood sugar control. happens.
Mediterranean diets have also been shown to reduce insulin resistance, a condition that affects the body’s ability to use insulin to effectively control blood sugar levels.
Protects brain functions
Numerous studies have shown that Mediterranean food can be beneficial for mental health and prevent cognitive decline with age. For example, a study of 512 people found that adhering to a strict Mediterranean diet was associated with better memory and a reduction in Alzheimer’s risk factors.
Other studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet may be linked to a lower risk of dementia, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a large study found that the Mediterranean diet restriction was associated with better cognition, memory, attention, and processing speed in healthy older adults.
How to follow it
- Eat: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish, shellfish and extra virgin olive oil.
- Eat in moderation: chicken, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
- Rarely eaten: red meat, sugary drinks with added sugar, processed meats, refined grains, refined oils, and other highly processed foods.
Foods to eat
Exactly which foods are included in the Mediterranean diet is debatable, as there are differences between countries. The foods studied in most studies were high in healthy plant foods and relatively low in meat and animal products. However, it is recommended to eat fish and shellfish at least twice a week.
The Mediterranean lifestyle also includes regular physical activity, sharing food and reducing stress levels. You can add a mix of fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables, but check the package label for extra sugar and sodium.
Ideally, base your diet on the following healthy Mediterranean foods:
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, spinach, onions, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sugar, radishes.
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, watermelons, peaches.
- Nuts, seeds and peanut butter: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter
- Beans: Kidney beans, peas, lentils, kidney beans, peanuts, gram
- Whole grains: oatmeal, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat bread and pasta.
- Fish and shellfish: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, shellfish, shrimp, mussels
- Chicken: Chicken, Duck, Turkey
- Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs
- Milk: cheese, yogurt, milk
- Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper
- Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olive, avocado and avocado oil.
Food should be limited
When following the Mediterranean diet, you should limit these processed foods and ingredients:
- Excess sugar: Excess sugar is found in many foods, but especially in soft drinks, candy, ice cream, table sugar, syrups and baked goods.
- Refined grains: white bread, pasta, tortillas, chips, crackers
- Trans fats: Found in margarine, fried foods and other processed foods.
- Refined oils: soybean oil, rapeseed oil, cotton seed oil, grape oil
- Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, cold cuts, beef jerky.
- High Processed Foods: Fast food, snacks, microwave popcorn, muesli bar.
Drinks Or Beverages
Water should be the drink of your choice in the Mediterranean diet. The diet also includes a moderate amount of red wine, about a glass a day.
However, it is completely optional and some people should avoid alcohol, including those who are pregnant, have difficulty drinking moderately, or are taking certain medications that may interact with alcohol.
Coffee and tea are also healthy drinks for Mediterranean food. Be careful not to add too much sugar or extra cream. You should limit sugary drinks, such as soda or sweet tea, which are high in sugar. Fruit juices can be eaten in moderation, but it is better to choose whole fruits to get the fiber benefits.
Below is an ideal menu for 1 week of Mediterranean food.
Feel free to adjust portions and dining options according to your needs and preferences, and add snacks as desired.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberry and chia seeds.
- Lunch: Complete sandwiches with hummus and vegetables.
- Dinner: Tuna salad with herbs and olive oil and fruit salad.
- Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries.
- Lunch: Zachary Capress Pasta with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, farro, grilled chicken and feta cheese.
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.
- Lunch: A complete sandwich with cheese and fresh vegetables.
- Dinner: Las Vegas of the Mediterranean.
- Breakfast: Yogurt with chopped fruits and nuts.
Lunch: Quinoa salad with lentils.
Dinner: Grilled salmon with brown rice and vegetables.
- Breakfast: Boiled eggs and vegetables on whole grain toast.
- Lunch: Zachary filled with pesto, turkey sausage, tomatoes, pepper and cheese.
- Dinner: Fry the lamb with salad and roasted potatoes.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and apple pieces.
- Lunch: Complete sandwich with vegetables.
- Dinner: Mediterranean whole pita pizza with cheese, vegetables and olives.
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with vegetables and olives.
- Lunch: Felfeel with feta cheese, onion, tomato, hummus and rice.
- Dinner: grilled chicken with vegetables, chips and fresh fruit.
Mediterranean diets generally do not require counting calories or tracking macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates).
If you feel hungry between meals, you can enjoy a lot of healthy breakfast options on Mediterranean food.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- A handful of nuts
- A piece of fruit
- Baby carrots with hummus
- Mix berries
- Greek yogurt
- Boiled eggs with salt and pepper
- Apple chips with almond butter
- Chopped bell peppers with guacamole
- Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
- Chia pudding
Many dishes in the restaurant are suitable for Mediterranean food. Try to choose whole grains, vegetables, beans, seafood and healthy fats. It is also important to enjoy the food and enjoy it well, so choose something that tastes good.
Here are some tips to help you adjust your diet when eating out:
- Choose fish or seafood as your main course.
- Ask the waiter if your food can be cooked in extra virgin olive oil.
- Choose whole bread with olive oil instead of butter.
- Add vegetables to your order.
Healthy eating tips at this restaurant can also help.
It is best to shop around the store, where you can usually find whole food.
Choose the most nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
Here are some Mediterranean food staples to add to your shopping list:
- Vegetables: Carrots, onions, broccoli, spinach, spinach, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms
- Frozen veggies: peas, carrots, broccoli, mixed vegetables
- Tubers: Potatoes, sugar cane, sugar cane
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, melons, peaches, pears, strawberries, blueberries.
- Cereals: whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal.
- Beans: lentils, chicken beans, black beans, kidney beans
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts
- Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds
- Flavors: Sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, red pepper, oregano.
- Seafood: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, shrimp, shellfish
- Dairy: Greek yogurt, yogurt, milk
- Chicken: Chicken, Duck, Turkey
- Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck
- Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olive, avocado, avocado oil.
The Bottom Line
Although there is no Mediterranean food, this diet includes healthy plant foods and relatively small amounts of animal products with an emphasis on fish and shellfish. It has many health benefits and can help stabilize blood sugar levels, improve heart health, improve brain function and much more.
Most importantly, you can adapt the Mediterranean diet to your needs. If you don’t like salmon and sardines but whole wheat pasta and olive oil, start making delicious Mediterranean dishes with your favorite ingredients.