We live in times where diets are some of the biggest fads. As the many diet ideas are published in books and articles, researchers have begun profiling people from various parts of the world to analyze their diets and their relationship to the health and overall lifestyle of the people.
This is how we come across the “Mediterranean Diet“. In a nutshell, the Mediterranean diet is named after the region is it most prevalent in and is low in meat and dairy products, but high in fruits, whole grains, beans nuts and seeds, and fish. Olive oil is the key fat component of the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean region is quite diverse when it comes to its people, the cultures, the food and the weather. The Mediterranean diet was formulated by studying the eating habits of people in parts of southern Italy (Sicily), Tunisia and Greece.
The studies found higher life expectency and a much lower incidence of chronic diseases in people who ate what could be considered as traditional Mediterranean food.
Research reports from the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that amongst individuals aged 70 to 90 years, those following a Mediterranean diet and active lifestyle have a more than 50% lower rate of all causes of an instances of chronic diseases.
The traditional food of the Mediteranean people is based on the livestock, fishing and agriculture of their region. The mild climate ensures that they have a long growing season, yielding an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
Breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, and whole grains form the basis of the diet. Next in line are fruits, vegetables and legumes followed by what surprises most conventional dieters – olive oil.
The other parts of the mediterranean diet include fish/seafood, cheese/milk products, poultry, eggs and red meat. And lastly we have the daily indulgence of wine!
If we dig deeper into this diet, we find that it is high in many nutrients that are proclaimed to be good for us. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide abundant vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants while the grains provide essential carbohydrates.
Olive oil is the principle fat, replacing the much maligned animal fats. Olive oil is also full of antioxidants and monosaturated fatty acids and can constitute as much as 25%-30% of total daily caloric intake.
Eating fresh fish and seafood benefits the Mediterranean people by providing them with a healty source of protein and HDL (good cholesterol) friendly Omega-3 fatty acids.
Most cheeses made in the region use sheep’s milk and are generally lower in cholesterol than those made from cow’s milk. Red meat is only consumed a few times per month and therefore keeps the intake of animal based saturated fat to a minimum.
The final part of the Mediterranean diet has nothing to do with what you eat, but has everything to do with how you live your life. Physical exercise and an active lifestyle are just as key an ingredient for the Mediterraneans, as is olive oil.
What foods are not allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
While the Mediterranean diet is not a strict diet plan, foods that are generally not allowed on the Mediterranean diet include:
* Processed red meats. Hot dogs.
* Heavily processed foods. Frozen meals that have a lot of sodium.
* Refined grains.
* Alcohol (other than red wine)
* Refined, processed, or hydrogenated oils.
What is considered Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions. But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.
What is bad about the Mediterranean diet?
When the Mediterranean Diet Can Cause Problems
In some cases, the Mediterranean diet may lead to: Weight gain from eating more than the recommended amount of fat (such as in olive oil and nuts) Low levels of iron from not eating enough meat. Calcium loss from eating fewer dairy products.
What do you eat for breakfast on a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. If you’re following the Mediterranean diet, you may want to try eating avocados and eggs for breakfast. You might also want to try eating Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and flax seed.
Is peanut butter OK on Mediterranean diet?
And as plant-based protein sources that are high in good and unsaturated fats, peanuts and peanut butter are a natural fit within Mediterranean and Flexitarian ways of eating.
Is oatmeal on the Mediterranean diet?
Whole grains: oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat bread and pasta. Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels. Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey. Eggs: chicken, quail, and duck eggs.
What kind of cheese is allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
Dairy products native to the Mediterranean region, such as Greek yogurt and feta cheese, not only fit in with the concept of the diet but are also packed with nutrients. Other relatively healthy cheeses from the region include Manchego, Parmesan, and Brie, Kris Sollid, RD, told Insider.
Can you eat rice on a Mediterranean diet?
Yes, rice is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. It’s often eaten as a pilaf with herbs and spices rather than plain. For example, you can try Mediterranean Yellow Rice or Chickpea Rice Pilaf.
Is Mediterranean diet high in olive oil?
It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, southern Italy and France, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber breads and whole grains, nuts, and olive oil.
Which is better dash or Mediterranean diet?
The main difference between the Mediterranean diet and the original DASH diet research is the higher amount of heart healthy fat. And, if you want to make room for red wine, take care to avoid adding extra calories.
How many eggs can you eat on the Mediterranean diet?
Older adults can include up to two eggs per day, and vegetarians who do not consume cholesterol from animal foods may include more eggs in their diet, in moderation.
What are the main ingredients in a Mediterranean diet?
* a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
* healthful fats, such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
* moderate amounts of dairy and fish.
* very little white meat and red meat.
* few eggs.
* red wine in moderation.
Can you eat potatoes on Mediterranean diet?
Potatoes definitely shouldn’t be avoided on the Mediterranean diet. Potatoes may seem like a “bad carb” sometimes, but they aren’t viewed that way on this diet. They can be a great source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and more. Try eating white potatoes and sweet potatoes without going overboard.
What is the best bread to eat on a Mediterranean Diet?
Look for a loaf made with whole grains. It’s got more protein and minerals and is generally healthier than the white flour kind. Try whole-grain pita bread dipped in olive oil, hummus, or tahini (a protein-rich paste made from ground sesame seeds).