Have you heard about the Mediterranean Diet? This diet is based on the eating habits of people living in Crete, Greece and Southern Italy around 1960.
The Mediterranean Diet focuses on whole foods, plants and vegetables as the base. It also includes smaller portions of lean, healthy meat and it also includes having seafood 2 or 3 times a week. You will also replace bad fats with the good ones. For breakfast, you will eat high-fiber foods, fruits and whole grains. Dairy products will be limited.
Here are some examples of foods included in the Mediterranean Diet.
- Fish like salmon and sardines, tuna and herring
- Shellfish, such as clams, oysters and mussels
- Herbs and natural spices
- Fruits and vegetables of all kinds
- Whole wheat, whole grains and oats
- Good fats like extra-virgin olive oil, sunflower seeds, nuts and avocados
- Whole foods (foods that are as close to their natural state as possible)
If you want to make smart Mediterranean Diet food choices, here are some examples of foods you should cut back on and even avoid.
- Processed and red meat
- Products made with white flour
- Refined sugar
- Bad fats like hydrogenated oils, saturated fats and trans fats
- Butter, margarine and lard
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG is found in up to 80% of all processed food)
- Fast food and fried food
All the above examples are not totally forbidden. You mostly want to focus on choosing more fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains and less processed and refined foods. Also, you want less salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. But having red meat 2 or 3 times a month is fine if you want to. Using sea salt is another good choice.
The Mediterranean Diet is a good choice to improve your health in several areas, as studies have shown, including research by the New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, the Cambridge Health Alliance, the British Medical Journal and others.
As mentioned earlier, the basic ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet are a diet rich in plant foods, vegetables and fruits, the right kind of fish, whole grains and good fats. This video I found on Youtube.
Steps To Begin the Mediterranean Diet
You can take simple steps to start the Mediterranean Diet. First of all, it’s good to know what fats are good for you and which are bad. The bad fats are saturated and trans fats. They are present in many processed foods and they lead to obesity and other health problems. The good fats include nuts, extra virgin olive oil, sunflower seeds and avocados. You can begin by switching the bad fats you are having with the good ones.
Another simple step you can take is to make fresh vegetables the biggest part of every meal. You want all that the Mediterranean Diet includes as they are all important for your body to function properly but the main focus is the fresh veggies.
When having a meal, eat the Mediterranean diet foods first. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains make you feel fuller faster and longer than any processed foods you might eat. That way, you’ll be eating less of the bad foods.
Another simple step to get started on the Mediterranean Diet is to have fish 2 or 3 times a week.
One final step is to eat legumes, as they are definitely an important part of the Mediterranean Diet. Beans are heart healthy, you feel full longer, they fill you up quickly and there are many varieties to choose from. You can use beans to complement veggies, fruits and whole grain products. You can also make dips, hummus and other pastes with beans. Or you can just eat them on their own. Beans are a good thing!
Hopefully, you have learned about the Mediterranean Diet, how to get started and what exactly it is. If you do try this diet, please let us know how you liked it in the comments below or on our Healthy Eating Fun Facebook page.