What is the Mediterranean Diet Plan?
The Mediterranean diet is modeled after the traditional foods of countries such as Italy and Greece in 1960.
Researchers discovered that the people in these countries were exceptionally healthy compared to Americans.
These people also had a low risk of lifestyle diseases. It was further found that the Mediterranean diet could cause weight loss and prevent strokes, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, and even premature death.
7 Ways Mediterranean Diet May Help in Improving Your Health
1. Helps in Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can help reduce the possibility of various types of cardiovascular disease- the main reason for numerous deaths in the US.
This diet has proved to be a winner on other low-fat diets and various medical researchers further prove this.
As per a study conducted by researchers from Greece in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it has been confirmed that all the people undergoing coronary artery disease lowered their mortality rate to 27% after following a Mediterranean diet.
A group of medical experts in Sweden carried out another research in the same regard. They have also confirmed that getting along with a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of various heart diseases.
2. You May Live Longer Than Your Counterparts on Other Diet Plans
If you follow the Mediterranean diet religiously, you can live longer than your counterparts on other diet plans.
Moreover, this doesn’t connect to whether you live near a Mediterranean region.
There was research conducted in the same aspect by a group of doctors from the prospective European investigation of cancer ( EPIC).
The study collected information about the diet of the participating people and they categorized them according to their closeness to the diet.
It showed a significant drop in the mortality rate amongst the participants who were closer to a Mediterranean diet plan.
3. Keeps the Risk of Diabetes Away
As we all know, the Mediterranean diet is quite rich in fiber, which comes from all the fruits and vegetables within, and it reduces the risk of type II diabetes.
There is research in the same context by a team of doctors from Austria and they have confirmed that people have lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by simply following a Mediterranean diet.
Well, it’s not only about the research and the studies in the same context, and a Mediterranean diet looks healthy at first, with all the plant-based food items it carries along.
4. Avoid the Risk of Certain Types of Cancer
The nutrition-bound Mediterranean diet carries key elements like Vitamin E and C, Selenium, Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and resveratrol.
All these nutrients play a crucial role in combating the risk of colon and prostate cancer.
A team of researchers from Germany has proved this fact on their way toward a study that included over 2 million people.
The study showed that everyone who followed the diet for a certain period had reduced the symptoms of certain types of cancer- specifically colorectal cancer.
Still, you are always recommended to pursue medical guidance before bringing any dietary changes while undergoing cancer treatment.
5. Helps in Weight Loss
Now, this is a reason which has made this diet so popular amongst people across the globe.
While you will be eating more fiber in your diet, you are bound to consume fewer calories on your way through.
This would eventually cut down the calorie intake daily while making you cut the existing flab around your body.
Well, you may argue the fact in comparison to other low-carb diets but a Mediterranean diet offers you all the nutrition which other diet plans may lack in the whole process.
There have also been certain studies in place that have proved this fact, which is why everyone is going crazy about the Mediterranean diet.
6. Good for Your Nervous System
As per a study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco, people who have followed the Mediterranean diet closely are more attentive regarding their memory, speed, etc.
They have also been found to be less prone to various health issues related to their nervous system.
Still, a lot depends on how you follow the Mediterranean diet while avoiding smoking, alcohol, exercising, and exposure to a healthy lifestyle.
7. Simple and Easy to Follow
Although many of you might argue this fact as its health benefit, we can only say that a diet plan is effective when it’s simple and easy to go by.
Studies have shown that most people give up on their complicated diet plans simply because they can’t fit in with their existing routines and busy lifestyles.
You can’t say the same about the Mediterranean diet plan, which is healthy while being simple.
You have to follow the basics rightly and eat as many plant-based foods along with some moderate carbs and fats.
Moreover, most of the food items included in the Mediterranean diet are readily available at the grocery store and the diet also recommends having seasonal fruits and veggies.
This ensures you don’t have to go high on your budget and still get along with healthy eating habits and lifestyle.
Printable Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan Versions
However, it must be noted that there is no right “way” to the Mediterranean diet due to the multitude of countries, people, and food around the Mediterranean Sea.
This article explains the dietary pattern of a Mediterranean diet. As stated earlier, there is no Mediterranean meal written in stone, and the plan given in this article is more of a guideline.
You can experiment and adapt any of it to your taste.
Here are the basics:
Eat bread and extra virgin olive oil. Fish, fruits, nuts, herbs, legumes, potatoes, seafood seeds, spices, vegetables, whole grains,
Eat moderately: Poultry, cheese, eggs, and yogurt.
Eat sparingly: Red meat.
Avoid Sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains, added sugars, refined oils, and highly processed foods.
Foods Avoid During the Mediterranean Diet
Avoid these foods and ingredients. Note that this list is by no means exhaustive:
Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup: Fruit juices, soft drinks, table sugar, candy, pastries, ice cream.
Refined grains: pasta made with refined wheat white bread.
Refined oils: Soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil.
Trans fats are found in processed foods and margarine. Also, “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
Processed meat: Hot dogs, Processed sausages.
Highly processed foods in general.
Foods to Eat in Mediterranean Diet Plan
Precisely which foods are Mediterranean diet is controversial because of the variations between different countries.
The menu is, however, relatively low in animal foods and high in healthy plant foods. Regardless, eating seafood and fish at least twice a week is recommended.
The Mediterranean lifestyle also requires sharing meals with other people and enjoying life. It would be best if you base your diet on the following foods:
Fish and seafood
Extra virgin olive oil,
Herbs and spices
Nuts and seeds
Whole, single-ingredient foods.
Also, water should be your main drink on a Mediterranean diet. However, you can have around one glass of optional red wine per day too.
Coffee and tea are on the diet as long as you avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, which are very high in sugar.
One Week Mediterranean Sample Menu
This sample menu contains a balanced Mediterranean diet. By all means, alter this plan based on your preferences.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt, strawberries, and oats.
Lunch: Vegetables and whole-grain sandwich.
Dinner: A tuna salad in olive oil and fruit.
Breakfast: Oatmeal and raisins.
Lunch: Leftover tuna salad.
Dinner: Salad, tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives.
Breakfast: Omelet, vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and fruit.
Lunch: Vegetables, cheese and whole-grain sandwich.
Dinner: Mediterranean lasagne and fruit.
Breakfast: Yogurt, sliced fruits, and nuts.
Lunch: Leftover Mediterranean lasagne.
Dinner: Broiled salmon, brown rice, and vegetables.
Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, dressed in olive oil.
Lunch: Greek yogurt, strawberries, nuts, and oats.
Dinner: Grilled lamb, baked potato, and salad.
Breakfast: Oatmeal, nuts, raisins, and one apple.
Lunch: Vegetables and whole-grain sandwich.
Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made of whole wheat, topped with vegetables, olives, and cheese.
Breakfast: Omelet, olives, and vegetables.
Lunch: Leftover pizza.
Dinner: Grilled chicken, potato, vegetables, and fruit.
You don’t have to track your calorie consumption rate on the Mediterranean diet.
However, you might have to do so if you need to lose weight. Limiting your carbohydrate intake and high-fat foods like nuts will be advisable in that circumstance.
Healthy Mediterranean Snacks are a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, apple slices with almond butter, carrots or baby carrots, greek yogurt, leftovers from the night before, and some berries or grapes.
Though there is a right way to define the Mediterranean diet, the diet is generally lower in animal foods and rich in healthy plant foods.
It also emphasizes fish and seafood. The menu is also very satisfying and incredibly healthy.