The Mediterranean Diet benefits have long been studied
as a way of eating which can benefit our overall health.
People living in countries along the Mediterranean Sea have
some of the lowest levels of heart disease,
obesity and other diet-related illnesses on the planet.
Better still, the Mediterranean diet is also an easy and
delicious diet which
doesn’t require you to be a master chef to get started!
The Mediterranean diet incorporates healthy, fresh ingredients like olive oil, vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish and red wine, while minimizing unhealthy fats and red meats.
The research that has been done on the Mediterranean diet is hard to argue with – its effects have been studied on millions of people and it is known to be linked to a lower risk of death from cancer and heart disease, along with a lower risk of Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and many other diseases.
Mediterranean diets are primarily plant-based diets.
The majority of your food to get the best Mediterranean diet benefits should be fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans and a small amount of healthy fats from sources like nuts and olive oil.
It’s also a
relatively low sodium diet; herbs and spices take the center stage in
flavoring meals rather than relying on salt.
As far as protein goes, the emphasis is on lean proteins from fish, poultry and beans, with red meat being eaten only occasionally, perhaps once or twice per month. This alone reduces the amount of unhealthy fats in this diet.
In the Mediterranean diet, butter and margarine are also not a staple – instead of eating bread with butter, people in this part of the world tend to dip their bread in olive oil or just eat it plain.
If you’re used to eating the standard American diet, you may be surprised by just how much flavor you’ve been missing out on by having too much salt and unhealthy fats.
This is a diet which lets the natural flavors of foods shine through and although it may take a little bit of getting used to, you will soon love how much better everything tastes.
You’re essentially retraining yourself to enjoy food the way it was meant to be enjoyed – close to its pure, natural state.
Nuts are an important part of the Mediterranean diet and are great sources of protein, fiber and healthy fat.
However, nuts are also high in calories and should be eaten in small amounts.
Try to stick to a handful of nuts (or slightly less) per day.
Don't defeat the good things that the Mediterranean diet is doing for you by choosing honey roasted, highly salted or candied nuts.
Instead, go for unsalted or even raw nuts.
Red wine contains flavonoids and antioxidants such as quercetin, found in plants, and is used as a supplement to boost immunity.
It also includes resveratrol, which protects and strengthens your heart and arteries against the damage caused by saturated fats in our diet.
These ingredients also protect our bodies from certain types of cancers.
As with all alcoholic beverages, moderation is the key. One to two glasses of red wine daily can be beneficial and lower your risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
However, over-consumption of alcohol can cause all manner of health problems as well as increasing your risk of certain cancers and other diseases.
Olive oil is a huge staple in the Mediterranean area. Most people there never even use butter, much less the more harmful alternative, margarine!
Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and good fats, called monounsaturated fats.
Olive oil can help lower cholesterol, improve skin, stave off diabetes, strengthen immune system, and a whole host of other good qualities.
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the world’s healthiest and most flavorful ways to eat and once you get started, you may never want to go back – especially once you see the health benefits for yourself!
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I was delivering some documents to a customer and parked in front of a Greek restaurant. I hadn't had a gyro in a while so I decided to stop for lunch