The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional food used by the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Israel.
A large number of studies done on this subject showed that the Mediterranean diet helps you gradually lose weight, using healthy and nutritionally valuable foods.
Also, the Mediterranean way of preparing food has preventive effect on people suffering from heart disease. It also reduces the risk of stroke, diabetes type 2 and cancer.
1. No Need To Count Calories
With the Mediterranean diet you won’t have to count calories or to cross of your favorite dishes. Instead of consuming bad fats, simply replace them with the good ones such as: olive oil instead of butter or fish instead of red meat, and try to include as much of fresh vegetables as you can.
Cakes and other sweet deserts should be replaced with fresh fruits.
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are also an important part of the Mediterranean diet, but they should not be consumed in amounts greater than one fist day.
Also, you can consume bread and rolls from whole grains, while enjoying it with one to two glasses of wine.
2. Ingredients Are Fresh and Seasonal
The Mediterranean diet involves consumption of fresh, seasonal food instead of frozen, canned or any other “Fast foods”. Make yourself a delicious salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and spinach. I also recommend that you use a typical Greek salad ingredients such as black olives and feta cheese.
3. You CAN Eat Bread
An important part of the Mediterranean diet consists of whole grains. Bread and pasta from whole grains are healthier than bread and pasta made from white flour, because it has a lot more proteins and minerals.
Consuming whole grains doesn’t lead to a sudden rise or fall of blood sugar.
Try to make your own whole grain bread and dip it in olive oil, hummus or tahini (tahini paste is rich in protein from sesame seeds).
4. Fats Are NOT Forbidden
Hearth-friendly fats (HDL) are the basis of the Mediterranean diet. You’ll find them in nuts, olives and olive oil.
These fats (excluding saturated and trans-fats found in processed foods) not only give food a better taste, but also help fight various diseases from diabetes to cancer.
Basil Pesto sauce is a tasty way to include nuts and olive oil into your diet. To make a pesto sauce, blend fresh basil leaves, nuts, parmesan, olive oil, water, garlic, a little salt and pepper.
5. Includes Tasty Spices
Mediterranean spices and herbs such as bay leaf, coriander, rosemary, pepper and cinnamon will give your dishes such a strong and nice taste that you won’t have the need for adding salt at all!
Many of these spices are very healthy.
For example, rosemary and coriander are rich in antioxidants and other important nutrients. You can make a delicious and refreshing Greek salad with mushrooms, coriander, paprika, parsley, pepper and lemon.
6. Menu Is NOT Boring
The Mediterranean diet includes not only Greek or Italian food, but also the French, Spanish, Turkish and Moroccan, as well as the food from other Mediterranean countries.
Choose foods based on the following:
- small amounts of red meat
- full-fat dairy products
- plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- includes olive oil
- includes whole grains
Give Moroccan foods such as chickpeas and okra a try, it perfectly fits into The Mediterranean diet.
7. You Are ALLOWED To Drink Wine
Wine is a common addition in many Mediterranean countries where dinners are a form of socialization.
A glass or two of wine will not only relax you but give you some health benefits. The health benefits come from moderate wine consumption. Red wine tannins, which are what make red wine the color red, contain procyanidins — known for protecting against heart disease.
According to the Mediterranean diet, it’s recommended that women consume up to one glass of wine while men up to two glasses.
Red wine is preferred Mediterranean choice, and it’s much healthier than white wine. However, white wine can also be a tasty replacement.
8. It’s Easy To Prepare
Greek meals are often lightweight and served on small plates. Cut slices of cheese, olives, arrange, add some nuts and lots of fresh vegetables.
9. You Can Lose Weight
There is no miracle when it comes to losing weight by eating nuts, cheese and olive oil. But this basic premises of the Mediterranean diet (and eating slowly) will help you feel fuller and more satisfied which can ultimately lead to weight loss. Regular physical activity is also important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
10. Feel Fuller
The Mediterranean diet allows you to eat rich, tasty foods while staying full for a longer period. These foods include baked potatoes, hummus or spread of green beans, lemon juice, olive oil, red peppers and with spices (basil, cumin, dill, garlic, mint). These foods digested slowly so you can stay full and satisfied between meals.
You can alleviate hunger by nibbling nuts, olives or diced fat-free cheese. Feta or Greek halloumi cheese (similar to feta, but it’s goat’s cheese) are less greasy than cheddar cheese, yet rich and tasty.
11. Helps You Stay Sharp
The Mediterranean diet in addition to being good for the heart is also good for the brain and nervous system.
This diet excludes bad fats and processed foods that cause inflammation. Instead, the Mediterranean diet includes foods rich in antioxidants, which is good for the brain and nervous system.
12. It’s Heart-Friendly
Almost all of the Mediterranean diets are healthy for your heart!
Olive oil and nuts reduce bad cholesterol, while fruits, vegetables and legumes clean the blood vessels. Fish lowers triglycerides and blood pressure. Even a glass of red wine a day and is good for the heart.