The Mediterranean diet is a style of eating that was developed in the southern region of Europe. The main concept behind it is to consume food that originates from this geographical area, which includes Italy, Greece and Spain. This type of diet has been proven to have many health benefits for people who follow it regularly. In this article we will explore the origins of the diet, what makes it so great and some foods you can eat on a Mediterranean diet!
Benefits Of A Mediterranean Diet
Many people follow the Mediterranean diet because it has been proven to have many health benefits. For one, following this style of eating has been shown to reduce heart disease risk by up to 40%. The main reasons for these reduced risks is that most foods on a mediterranean diet are low in saturated fat and high in omega-polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Another benefit of a Mediterranean diet is weight loss. This type of diet emphasizes vegetables over animal products, meaning you will be consuming fewer calories without going hungry or feeling deprived! Lastly, research suggests that those who adhere to the Mediterranean dietary pattern may live longer than other populations with higher rates of mortality from some chronic diseases (i.e., cancer).
Consider this post as a general guideline not written in stone. Feel free to adjust the meals to your individual needs and preferences.
Avoid These Unhealthy Foods
Sticking to a Mediterranean diet involves avoiding these unhealthy foods and ingredients:
- Sugary foods and drinks: Soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar, and many others.
- Refined grains: White bread, pasta (refined wheat), etc.
- Trans fats: Margarine and various processed foods.
- Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, etc.
- Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, etc.
Familiarize yourself with food labels if you want to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
Foods to Eat
Exactly which foods belong to the Mediterranean diet varies by country and tradition. Nevertheless, eating fish and seafood at least twice a week is recommended. The Mediterranean lifestyle also calls for regular physical activity, sharing meals with loved ones, and appreciating and enjoying life.
Base your diet on these healthy, Mediterranean foods:
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
- Whole grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread, and pasta.
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
- Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
- Eggs: Chicken, quail, and duck eggs.
- Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Herbs and spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
- Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil.
Healthy Italian Recipes
- Red Clam Sauce- Add this red clam sauce recipe to your Mediterranean diet! Simply gather your ingredients and let them cook while you fulfill the rest of your Mediterranean lifestyle. Go to Recipe
- Pesto Shrimp Pasta- Pesto lovers, rejoice! A pinch of red pepper adds the zip to this delicious pesto shrimp pasta recipe. Go to Recipe
- Turkey Sausage with Pasta- If you’re looking for a healthy turkey sausage recipe, this is it. This recipe is the perfect blend of meaty, veggie, and cheesy pasta. Go to Recipe
- Italian Sausage Veggie Skillet- Spice up your Mediterranean diet with this zesty Italian sausage veggie skillet. If you like things extra spicy, Substitute the sweet peppers for hot peppers. Go to Recipe
- Rosemary Chicken with Spinach & Beans- This easy yet healthy recipe uses just one skillet, making it a breeze to whip up for a hungry family in under an hour. Go to Recipe
At the end of the day, a Mediterranean lifestyle is incredibly beneficial and satisfying. You won’t be disappointed.