Everything You Need to Know About the Mediterranean Diet
Perhaps you’ve been toying with the idea of trying a new diet for some time now. A Mediterranean diet could be something you’ve heard of but never had the chance to try. With many people spending much more time at home and with more free time, now is your chance!
Before you jump straight into a world of new flavors and unfamiliar recipes, let’s take some time to learn a bit more.
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at some benefits of this kind of diet, as well as a few other tips and tricks. What can you eat on this diet? What can’t you eat? Is the Mediterranean diet healthy?
Let’s get to it.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Local foods vary, depending on culture and the foods available. However, studies once revealed that Greeks and Italians tended to have lower rates of heart disease. This has been mostly attributed to their diet.
Sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet can improve your overall health, especially your heart health.
While some diets are rigorous, the Mediterranean diet allows for a little more wiggle room. More variety of food is available, with plenty of delicious recipes to choose from.
So, what does this mean for the average person?
It means that this kind of diet is sustainable.
As anyone who’s ever tried to stick to a diet will know, the real struggle comes in keeping it up. Trying to adhere to a strict diet that completely cuts out all the foods you enjoy often doesn’t work. You’re far more likely to give in eventually – and potentially even binge.
Rather than confining us to only a few food options, this diet focuses on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and starchy foods (bread and pasta are classic examples). It’s very similar to a basic “healthy eating” guide.
Why is a Mediterranean Diet Good For You?
So, what sets this diet above the rest? The answer lies in the foods you eat – and the foods you avoid.
The Mediterranean diet is not a strict set of rules (keto, gluten-free, or the Atkins diet may spring to mind) as it is a way of life.
What to Eat
- Fruit and vegetables (you should be getting your five portions a day!)
- Fish (at least two portions a week)
- Legumes, nuts, and unprocessed cereals
- Pulses and beans
- Products made from oils, such as extra virgin olive oil (in moderation)
- Dairy substitutes, such as soya
- 6-8 glasses of sugar-free drinks a day (no soda, unfortunately)
- Alcohol (in moderation, of course!)
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What Not to Eat
- Red meat
- Processed food
The chances are that very little on this list will surprise you. We know that sweets and processed food are bad for us in large amounts, whereas fruits and vegetables are much healthier.
Sticking to the list of “good” foods means a healthier body, more energy, and better sleep, to mention a few.
After all, we are what we eat.
Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
We’ve already discussed how this kind of diet can help with heart health, but there are other benefits too:
- Longevity. Simply put, a healthier diet can mean a longer life. Taking care of our body is so important and putting good food into our bodies is the best way of doing this.
- Lower risk of obesity. Processed foods, or foods that are high in sugar, can cause excessive weight gain over time.
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Improves cognitive functions.
- More energy during the day, better sleep at night.
- Helps to prevent heart disease.
- Improves gut health.
- Possible weight loss.
Eating well is the first but most important step to a healthy mind and body.
When your body obtains the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs, you feel good, and your body and its systems function as they should. The Mediterranean diet focuses on basic, simple, yet wholesome foods.
It’s not hard! Nor should it be.
How Can You Try the Mediterranean Diet?
Depending on what your diet is currently like, converting to a Mediterranean-style diet can be a bit of change. This is especially true if you’re used to eating a lot of sugary and processed foods.
However, the change is worth it.
The beauty of this kind of diet is that it is versatile. There are endless recipes available. You also have plenty of snack options; a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit makes a perfect mid-afternoon or mid-morning snack.
While the point of this diet is to avoid red meat as much as possible, meats like chicken and fish are fine. Plenty of vegetarian or vegan options are also available.
Tip: If you find yourself craving sweets, try dried fruit. They can be every bit as tasty and sweet as the ordinary, processed variety. You can also add fresh or dried fruit, such as strawberries or dates, to Greek yogurt or porridge for breakfast.
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Recipes & Planning
The best way to make sure you get properly balanced, healthy meals is to create a weekly meal plan. If you haven’t planned out what you’re going to eat for lunch that day, the temptation to grab a fast-food burger on the way home is even stronger.
Get creative! Plan meals and snacks that you’re excited to eat. Try new foods, experiment!
Once again, the Mediterranean diet is a way of life. It’s more than just a quick way of losing weight. With just a little creativity and planning, you can make delicious, nutritious meals every day.
You might be surprised at the variety available.
If you don’t know where to start, try a Mediterranean-style cookbook, and bookmark a few simple recipes that catch your eye. A quick Google search of “Mediterranean Diet Meals” brings up thousands of results. Whether you’re looking for a salad or a hearty dinner, there’s something for everyone.
Start Eating Mediterranean-Style Today!
Let’s hope this article has got you feeling hungry!
A Mediterranean-style diet is a much healthier alternative to some popular fasting diets. Remember, healthy. Permanent weight loss does not mean starving yourself. Often, the problem lies in what kind of foods we eat and when we eat.
Eat better, not less. This is exactly what the Mediterranean diet can do for you!
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