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How to change your life with Mediterranean Diet?

Last updated date: 25-Feb-2022

CloudHospital

13 mins read

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet represents the eating routine based on what Greeks, Italians, or Spanish normally eat. The Mediterranean diet involves consuming foods whose originality is from the Mediterranean area.

This diet is mostly rooted in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds, herbs, and spices, or whole grains. The major player of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, which is also the primal source of added fat. This diet also includes seafood and fish or poultry, but these foods should be consumed with reduction. 

The Mediterranean diet is great, as it might just allow you to also consume red meat or sweets sporadically, as long as their consumption stays infrequent.

The popularity of the Mediterranean diet started during the 1950s when the studies from that era have shown that those who were living in Greece, Italy, Spain, or the other Mediterranean countries were less prone to suffering from cardiovascular diseases compared to those who were living in the United States of America. As the years have been passing by, more and more studies have confirmed that the people who live in the Mediterranean area are healthier and they are less likely to develop health conditions at all.

So, besides preventing cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the Mediterranean diet also helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes a better function of the brain.

If you have just heard about the Mediterranean diet and want to find out more, you will learn all you need to know about it from this article. Keep reading and enjoy!

 

How to start Mediterranean diet?

You have probably heard the rumors about the Mediterranean diet, that it might help you stay healthy or even become healthier or that it could help you greatly to lose the unwanted pounds. Well, all of these rumors are true, and what you truly need to know is that following the Mediterranean diet is not hard at all.

There are no precise rules of how to follow the Mediterranean diet, as it actually means to consume the foods that are originally from the Mediterranean area. Although, the specialists think that the best way of getting started with the Mediterranean diet is to substitute one of your daily meals with foods specific to this very region, such as grain-based foods or plant-based foods.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health System (NHS), the Mediterranean diet is pretty much what it is actually recommended to eat, to keep your health status as high as possible. Therefore, according to UK’s National Health System, getting on the Mediterranean diet includes:

  • Eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily. There are plenty of both vegetables and fruits which you can choose to eat;
  • Preparing your meals using starchy ingredients, just like potatoes, pasta, rice, or bread. Except for potatoes, go for the whole-grain versions of the aforementioned foods;
  • Eating beans, fish, eggs, or meat for proteins weekly;
  • Consuming dairy or any other dairy alternative;
  • Consuming in limited quantities unsaturated oils or spreads;
  • Drinking at least 2 liters of water per day.

Also, if you happen to consume either foods or drinks that contain loads of fat, you should make sure that you consume them in limited quantities and just from time to time. If you can avoid these products, it would be best.

 

Mediterranean diet recipes

To fully enjoy the taste and benefits of the Mediterranean diet, you should learn a little about the basic recipes that make this diet so great. So, you should start acquainting yourself with some of the local recipes, which tend to mix all the great ingredients into some spectacular foods.

Are you ready to rock and roll your eating routine? If you do, here are some ideas of how you can make the most of Mediterranean foods! But first, let’s see which are the ingredients that you should have in your pantry in order to prepare some astonishing Mediterranean dishes:

  • Vegetables – you need onions, garlic, kale, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, and carrots. You should also have in your proximity potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams.
  • Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, or any other beans come in handy.
  • Grains – whole grain pasta, for example, or whole grain bread, or brown rice, as well are great ingredients for a remarkable meal.
  • Seeds – quinoa, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds are great for providing a fine texture to your food, while being rich in nutrients, as well.
  • Nuts – just like seeds, they could provide a great texture to your food and get you lots of nutrients.
  • Condiments – sea salt is a requirement and you should also add to your storeroom some pepper, turmeric, oregano, or cinnamon.
  • Fruits – there is a wide variety of fruits that go hand in hand with the Mediterranean diet, such as apples, oranges, peaches, pears, strawberries, bananas, grapes, or watermelon.
  • Dairy products – Greek yogurt is, by all means, a must. You should also have milk.
  • Eggs – whether chicken eggs, quail, or duck eggs they need to be found in your storeroom.
  • Poultry – you can prepare various dishes with chicken, turkey, or duck.
  • Seafood – fish can be eaten as a main dish or as an ingredient in salads, for example, as you can add tuna, salmon, anchovies, or many others
  • Extra virgin oil is the main ingredient for any Mediterranean diet recipe and you should also get olives and avocados.

 

Mediterranean diet - A celebrity meal plan?

The Mediterranean diet is highly enjoyed by most of the persons who have ever got to try it out. For example, Penelope Cruz affirms that she is totally in love with spaghetti and that she could eat it all day long.

Also, the famous Robert de Niro is a big fan of “mozzarelle di Battipaglia”. This type of cheese is also part of the Mediterranean diet.

Furthermore, and most important, John Goodman, who is the main actor in the notorious movie “The Big Lebowski” reports losing 45 pounds (20 kilograms) by following the Mediterranean diet.

So, the Mediterranean diet menu is enjoyed and followed even by celebrities from Hollywood. These persons usually have very few moments of chilling, as they are mostly fully engaged in their projects. Therefore, if the Mediterranean diet is easy to follow even by the busiest celebrities, and it is proved to be effective, why wouldn’t you give it a try?

There are various recipes available to anyone. You don’t need to be living in the Mediterranean basin to eat like the people who live down there. You could enjoy the taste and benefits of Mediterranean cuisine from the comfort of your very own home.

More importantly, you need to be aware that you do not need to be an acclaimed chef to get the Mediterranean recipes done. The beauty of Mediterranean cuisine lies in its simplicity. The Mediterranean diet is rooted in the uncomplicated use of the ingredients. Add some feta cheese to your plate, a tomato, and drizzle some olive oil over these ingredients and you get a great salad. Simple as that.

Of course, there are multiple recipes in Mediterranean cuisine and not all of them are so simple, but you got the idea. Some of the recipes might require actual cooking, but still, it is nothing complicated.

 

Here are some ideas of what you can eat when you follow the Mediterranean diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So, you should start your day with a nice and easy-to-do breakfast. Do not let the day begin without eating well. Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. For breakfast, you can basically use Greek yogurt to create any mixture that you dream of, as long as you use ingredients that follow the Mediterranean criteria. For example, you could get yourself a Greek Yogurt with fruits and honey. Also, you could easily add some chia seeds to this mixture. Or you can add some nuts. Maybe, you could also eliminate the aforementioned ingredients and just mix your Greek yogurt with muesli. Your imagination is the limit.

For lunch, you should eat something that would gradually raise your blood sugar levels and boost your energy. As an example, a great Mediterranean lunch could consist of salmon and cucumber grain bowls. This recipe is supposed to take less than an hour to cook.

For dinner, you could have roasted sweet potatoes with chickpeas and yogurt. Truly easy to cook, and even easier to enjoy.

 

Mediterranean diet snacks

Not everything delicious must be a guilty pleasure. While being on a Mediterranean diet, you can fully enjoy, but not unrestricted, the pleasure of eating some snacks. Well, chocolate is not really part of the diet, but there are plenty of other things that you can explore and have the benefit of. Here are some ideas of snacks that those who live on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea love and which you can also try out!

  • Greek yogurt – imagine it as a pudding which could be combined with lots of delicious foods, such as honey, nuts, or fruits. You can even mix them all with Greek yogurt. Tasty, isn’t it?
  • Fruits – Many fruits are originally from the Mediterranean area, such as lemons or oranges, but you can also enjoy the taste of grapes or all kinds of berries.
  • Apple slices with peanut or almond butter – have you ever tried it out? It makes an absolutely delicious snack!
  • Thin slices of carrots and parsnips with hummus – whether a snack or a full meal, you can count on it.
  • Boiled egg with salt and pepper – not necessarily a snack, but comes in handy when you are a little bit hungry.
  • Slices of bell peppers with guacamole – just like the carrots with parsnips, you can consider them a meal.
  • Nuts – they are always a great idea for snacks.
  • Cottage cheese with fruits – somehow similar to the Greek yogurt with fruits, but with a savory valence. No dairy products compare to Greek yogurt. 

 

Mediterranean diet weight loss

The Mediterranean diet is representing the regular foods that the people from the Mediterranean are consuming. Their diet is rich in plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These could be consumed either as the main dish or as a side dish.

The Mediterranean diet’s main source of fat is certainly olive oil. Also, this diet consists of moderate quantities of dairy products and lower quantities of fish and poultry. The Mediterranean diet accepts, sporadically, the consumption of red meat accompanied by wine, only if they are served in very low quantities.

Various studies enhance the idea that the Mediterranean diet functions as prevention of multiple prevailing non-communicable diseases and that it is associated with greater longevity.

Besides, the Mediterranean diet is also used to prevent and manage obesity. It is also considered that adhering to the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower body weight, as it can also prevent long-term weight gain. Adhering and sticking to a Mediterranean diet could also imply a significant loss of weight, without energy restriction.

The association between the Mediterranean diet and weight loss and even weight management has been confirmed by several studies. According to a study that has been published in the American Journal of Medicine, the persons who have been following the Mediterranean diet have lost from 9 to 22 pounds. Moreover, according to the same study, these persons managed to keep these pounds off for at least a year.

Furthermore, the Lancet presented a 5 years-long study involving people aged from 55 to 80 years who followed the Mediterranean diet. During the study, all of these persons have lost a couple of pounds and managed to reduce their fat levels, without having a limit for the daily calorie intake. This could be mainly because the Mediterranean diet is a high-protein diet, from both plant and animal sources, such as fatty fish or legumes. This aspect may be very important to older adults as they need protein to keep the consolidation of their muscles.

Normally, it should be easier to lose a couple of pounds when you are following a plant-based diet, as you can eat more for fewer calories. Also, if you choose to follow a Mediterranean diet to lose weight, you should avoid the consumption of processed foods and include more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans in your daily meals.

The more plant-based foods you eat and the more you reduce the consumption of animal-based foods increases your chances of avoiding several health conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and others.As the Mediterranean diet contains loads of healthy fats, just like those from olive oil, nuts, or avocados, you can easily feel full with less food. As a bonus, the Mediterranean diet is great for losing weight as it is normally very low in added sugars.

Moreover, the American Institute for Cancer Research supports plant-based diets, in order to prevent cancer as “ clean” eating enables us to avoid foods high in chemicals and processed fats. 

Another advantage of choosing the Mediterranean diet is that you do not need to limit the intake of carbs, as it is focused on obtaining carbs from fruits, vegetables, or fiber-rich whole grains. 

Although it is recommended to consume very limited amounts of alcohol and not too often while on the Mediterranean diet, you could, actually, drink a glass of wine per day. But only if you stick to one glass. Do not drink more. As a piece of advice, you should drink as little alcohol as possible.

 

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid represents a nutritional guideline that has been established by the Harvard School of Public Health along with the World Health Organization and the Oldways Preservation Trust in the early 1990s. The purpose of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is to offer valuable help in organizing the meals that you should get when following the Mediterranean diet.

So, the nutrition research of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is actually based on the values and dietary patterns of Greece and southern Italy from the 1960s, when the incidence rates of chronic diseases were at the lowest value worldwide and the life expectancy met its peak, considering that the medical services were very poor at that time.

The Mediterranean Pyramid Diet is split up into frequencies which are daily, weekly, and monthly. Also, the Mediterranean Pyramid Diet is not recommending the sizes of the portions that you want to eat.

The very base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid consists of daily exercising and weight control. The next level is divided between whole-grain foods, which are consumed in most of the meals, and plant oils.

Furthermore, the third level is also divided into two: vegetables, which are recommended to be consumed in abundance, and fruits, which are recommended to be consumed only 2 to 3 times per day.

The next level of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is dedicated only to seeds and nuts, which are recommended to be consumed between 1 and 3 times per day.

The higher level of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is exclusive for fish, poultry, and eggs. These foods are recommended to be eaten a maximum of twice per day.

The next level of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid consists of dairy and calcium supplements. These should be consumed once or twice per day.

The top of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is divided into two categories of foods, which are both recommended to be eaten as rarely as possible. One of these two categories of foods that should be often avoided is red meat and butter. The other category that should be kept at arm’s length is white bread, white rice, white pasta, potatoes, soda, and other sweets.

The research that has been made so far points up to the fact that following the Mediterranean diet could significantly improve your health status and increase your longevity. Also, studies show that following this diet could lower your risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease and it could prevent allergies and asthma.

 

Conclusion

The Mediterranean diet is firstly rich in healthy and nutritious ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or fats and secondly, this diet is possibly even tastier than it is healthy.

You also need to know that even celebrities like Robert De Niro, John Goodman, or Penelope Cruz are fans of the Mediterranean diet and they have used it to lose weight. It proved to be quite effective, as John Goodman lost 45 pounds (20 kilograms) following it.

Furthermore, following the Mediterranean diet is quite simple. It is nothing complicated to prepare or cook as it is practically based on some of the easy to prepare whole foods. All the foods that you should eat are efficiently organized in the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. The main principles that you have to keep in mind when following the Mediterranean diet are to keep away from white bread and pasta, soda, and sweets. Some say that you can actually drink one glass of wine per day, meaning about 6 ounces (0.2 liters) per day. But, if you really want to enjoy the benefits of the Mediterranean diet you should avoid drinking.

If you feel like making a change in your lifestyle, you should totally give the Mediterranean diet a try. You would find it to be quite life-changing, in a positive manner, as all of its aspects are going to improve: you will lose weight, and you will feel healthier and way better overall.

The CloudHospital team highly encourages you to start your Mediterranean diet today! You will thank us later.

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