What is a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is based on the food traditions of people in the Mediterranean Sea area. The diet includes a lot of vegetables, unsaturated fats, and grains with fish, dairy, and poultry foods allowed in moderation. Processed food, red meats, and sweet food should only be eaten in small quantities or avoided. Unlike the Ketogenic Diet where there are strict rules to follow in order to get the desired result, there aren’t any for the Mediterranean diet allowing for flexibility.
Mediterranean diets have been shown to be very good for general health, preventing chronic disorders and most famously promoting heart health.
How to do a Mediterranean diet
As mentioned, the Mediterranean diet is a flexible one, there are no strict rules to follow. All you’ll need to do is a simple meal plan that includes certain ingredients in varying quantities.
Here’s a list of ingredients you should include
- Fruit and vegetables: ones that are common to the Mediterranean region are recommended
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc.
- Unsaturated (Healthy) Fats: Olive oil, avocado
- Seafood and fish
- Herbs and spices (for flavour)
Here’s a list of ingredients to include in moderation:
- Poultry: Chicken, turkey
Here’s a list of ingredients/foods to consume in small quantities or avoid completely:
- Sugar/sugary foods: avoid recipes o foods that have added sugars like most desserts, ice cream, syrup, honey, etc.
- Saturated fats: butter, fatty meat, pastry, cured meats
- Processed food
- Processed meats
- Refined grains and oils
In terms of drinks, similar rules apply. Water is, of course, the go-to, and red wine is fine in moderation but try to avoid sugary drinks like fizzy drinks or squash. Coffee and tea are also fine but don’t add any sugar to them.
There are many health benefits to the Mediterranean diet.
- Promotes heart health: reduces plaque build-up in arteries
- Lowers the risk of strokes
- Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels: lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Promotes brain health: a study showed that this diet improved cognitive function, attention and memory
If you’re looking to improve your general health and to have a flexible, tasty diet, the Mediterranean diet is the right one for you. It’s a diet based on consuming healthy fresh foods, and you’re bound to see improvements in your physical and mental health by following it. There are minimal to no risks, just make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need which should be easy to achieve if you vary the diet and include as many of the ingredients available.
Isabel is a writer and editor with a passion for reading, art and philosophy. She often spends her time pondering the meaning of life and performing her rigorous skincare routine.