With the increasing awareness about health and fitness experts have come up with a plethora of diets but in most cases these diets either fail to show results or don’t work as a long term solution. But the Mediterranean diet is not just a diet; it is a complete revolution of your eating habits which helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, promotes weight loss and helps to maintain healthy body weight through a successful strategy. But before we move on with the diet let us answer the question of “what is a Mediterranean diet?””. Well, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains form the base of the Mediterranean diet foods along with moderate quantities of fish, white meat, nuts, low-fat dairy and red wine and low amounts of red meat, eggs, sweets, desserts and salt. Olive oil acts as the main source of added lipids in this diet.
Tips on How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet
Here are a few simple tips that will guide you to bring about the positive changes in your eating habits and get you started with the Mediterranean Diet.
Eat plenty of vegetables - Vegetables from the basis of the Mediterranean diet plan. Eat lots of tomatoes, peppers, spinach, kale, eggplant, cauliflowers, artichokes and fennel.
Olive oil - Use extra virgin olive oil as the only source of healthy mono-unsaturated fats and add it to salads, soups, stir-fried vegetables and pizzas.
Never Skip Breakfast - Breakfast is the most important meal of the Mediterranean diet plan. Start your day with a dose of whole grains, fruits, and other fiber rich foods so that you can stay full until lunch.
Change the Style of Eating Meat - The Mediterranean diet allows only a small quantity of meat so if you decide to have meat then opt for leaner cuts and have smaller amounts altogether.
Have Seafood 2 Times a Week - Get your recommended dosage of healthy omega 3 fatty acids by enjoying the delicious taste of tuna, herring, salmon and sardines 2 times a week.
Have a Vegetarian Meal Once Every Week - Have a completely meatless day at least once every week and eat vegetables, whole grains and beans throughout the day.
Include Healthy Fats - Other than olive oil, you can also include nuts, seeds, avocados and olive into your daily meals to load up of healthy fats.
Enjoy Fresh Fruits - We all know that a meal can never come to an end without a delicious dessert. Enjoy fresh fruits such as strawberries, figs, grapes and apples instead of ice-cream or cake.
6 Advantages of Following the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is not just another weight loss diet; it is a long term sustainable diet to improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Helps in Losing Weight - Well, the Mediterranean diet is not just about losing weight, it’s about losing weight in a healthy and maintainable way that will last a lifetime. The Mediterranean diet is sustainable and healthy and has been undertaken by people all around the world to lower weight and manage weight. This diet helps to reduce fat intake by substituting the unhealthy foods with nutrient-dense foods. This diet is an intermediate between a low-carb and low-protein diet which focuses on the consumption of healthy fats while keeping the carbohydrate consumption relatively low. It doesn’t starve you and deprive you of healthy foods.
Improves Cardiovascular Health - We all know about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for heart health which comes from the abundance of monounsaturated fats and omega 3 foods included in the diet. The (ALA) or alpha-linolenic acid present in olive oil has a protective effect on the heart and it has been shown to reduce the rate of cardiac death by almost 30%. Olive oil also helps to reduce high blood pressure and improve endothelial function – two vital protective factors that reduce the risk of heart attack.
Prevents Cancer - Yet another amazing benefit of the healthy Mediterranean diet is that it helps to keep cancer at bay. Research shows that a healthy diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil reduces the risk of breast cancer. The balanced proportion of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids along with high amounts of fibers, polyphenols, and antioxidants in this diet help in the prevention of cancer. Fruits and vegetables form the basis of the Mediterranean diet that fights cancer in every way by protecting the DNA from damage, providing antioxidants, lowering inflammation, hindering cell mutation and delaying the growth of tumours.
Prevents Type 2 Diabetes - The dietary pattern of the anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet helps to fight and prevent diseases related to chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome such as type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet also helps to control excess insulin – the hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. The Mediterranean diet is a low-sugar diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, proteins and some carbohydrates that work as a natural cure for diabetes. The Mediterranean style of eating also prevents sudden spike and fall in blood sugar levels. The diabetes preventive capacity of the Mediterranean diet is attributed to the factors mentioned above.
Improves Cognitive Health - Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia and Parkinson’s disease are some of the most prevalent degenerative diseases that affect the elder age group in both developed and developing countries. Following the Mediterranean diet is a safe and effective way to treat and prevent these diseases naturally and a great way to preserve your memory. Cognitive disorders occur when the brain doesn’t get sufficient supply of dopamine – a vital chemical necessary for mood regulation and thought processing. Healthy fats present in nuts and olive oil along with plenty of anti-inflammatory vegetables and fruits can help to fight age-related cognitive disorders by countering the harmful effects of free radicals, inflammation and exposure to toxicity.
Increase Longevity - The Mediterranean diet can also help to enhance longevity and reduce the chances of death at any age mainly due to the reduction in the chances of developing chronic diseases – cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, depression and cognitive decline. A diet rich in fresh plant based foods and healthy fats is the right combination for a long and healthy life.
Keeping in mind the numerous beneficial aspects of following the Mediterranean diet plan you can try to adopt in your daily life and lead a healthy and disease-free life.
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