Of late, various so-called healthy diets have stormed the internet for weight loss. Of which, the Mediterranean diet has made its way to the headlines, as a lifesaving meal plan. So let’s understand what it the Mediterranean cuisine made up of and why it is one of the favorite diets for health freaks, nutritionists and those propagating healthy living.
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Features of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the traditional food patterns of southern Italy, the Greek, Island of Crete, and other parts of Greece, all surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This healthy diet style has gained immense popularity as it is very close to the guidelines established for healthy eating and healthy living.
What is Mediterranean food?
Meditteranean foods are basically the cuisines of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Foods that mainly falls under this category are vegetables, whole grains, legumes etc. They also include fishes and poultry.
The Mediterranean meal plan requires you to do the following
- Consume a variety of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables every day. So eat grapes, berries, tomatoes, bell peppers, gourds (bottle, ridge, bitter, snake), spinach, eggplant (brinjal), beans, lentils, and the likes.
- Bank on a variety of whole-grain foods each day for weight loss. So your daily menu can include broken wheat, rye, barley, jowar, oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread instead of the processed versions like white rice, white bread or all-purpose flour.
- Select unsaturated fats like nuts, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and flaxseed oil. They should definitely feature as a part of a healthy diet.
- Restrict saturated fats like they do in the Mediterranean cuisine. These include butter, palm oil, and margarine. Further, it is better to limit fats found in animal products, such as meat and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Eat mostly vegetarian meals that have plenty of whole grains, beans, lentils, and vegetables.
- Include fish in your diet. At least 2 times a week eat fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, or sardines.
- Consume in moderation – low-fat dairy products (each day or weekly) and poultry and eggs (every 2 days or weekly).
- Limiting red meat intake to only a few times a month in very small amounts. Lean meat is the preferred meat in the Mediterranean food.
- Restrict sugar intake. This means, curb your intake of sweets and desserts to only a few times a week. Don’t forget this means even the sugar-sweetened drinks like carbonated beverages.
- Include red wine to your meal. Generally, 1 glass each day for women and up to 2 glasses a day for men.
So, what does Mediterranean diet consist of?
In a nutshell, the Mediterranean diet includes loads of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and olive oil; eat moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt; limit the intake of red meat and avoid foods and drinks like sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods. All this followed diligently will result in weight loss.
Biggest Benefit of the diet: Weight Loss
Mediterranean diet to lose weight
Your lifestyle affects your weight greatly. And the Mediterranean diet is a diet that will influence your lifestyle to help you bring a sustainable weight management throughout your lifetime. This diet, as discussed earlier, gives you healthy replacement of foods that you generally eat. Moreover, it brings about changes in eating habits, changes in portion sizes, includes regular exercises etc. All these together will help you lose weight by following this diet.
The Mediterranean diet sits on the top of the list for many dietitians and nutritionist. Well, it is easy to understand why. Over the last 2 decades, many researchers have extensively studied the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and have established that it helps decrease the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), certain types of cancer, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet boosts thinking ability and brain function and offers longer lifespan to women.