What is the Mediterranean diet?
There are so many diets out there and we have pretty much almost covered all of them, except for one very popular one - the Mediterranean diet. While we are not typically huge fans of fad or dash diets, this one might be one you should consider sticking to.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a lot like the caveman or paleo diet. This diet is based on the traditional cuisine of those countries that border the Mediterranean sea. There is no narrowly defined, single-sentence definition of the Mediterranean diet, but it is typically comprised of lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans, and olive oil. Oh, and some fish.
In the 1960s, interest was sparked in the Mediterranean diet when they observed that coronary heart diseases caused a lot fewer deaths in countries that border the Mediterranean sea such as Greece and Italy compared to countries like the US and northern Europe. They also found that those who follow this type of diet had a reduced risk for heart diseases.
Why is it good for you?
Let’s look at a few benefits of this type of diet:
You may lose weight
Since this diet allows no sugar or red meat, it is only natural to lose weight on this diet. A study found that more than 7,000 adults on the Mediterranean diet found that they lost more weight on this diet without counting calories compared to those on low-fat diets. The Mediterranean diet is also particularly effective at reducing belly fat, which is more harmful to overall health and raises your heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk.
Better kidney function
Our kidneys are constantly working to filter out excess water and waste from our blood. Also, they produce hormones that keep your blood pressure in check and your bones strong. To repay our kidneys for all their hard work, we suggest switching to the Mediterranean diet. It has been shown that those who follow this diet reduced their risk of developing kidney disease by a whopping 50 percent. We believe that this is because fruits, veggies, olive oil, and fish have been proven to lower the inflammation in our bodies, which is a known contributor to kidney disease.
Good for your vision
Antioxidants found in the foods in the Mediterranean diet like leafy greens, oranges, sweet potatoes, and peppers are great for your vision. Did you know that those who eat just a single serving of fish every week have a 31 percent lower risk of developing early age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of loss in the vision for people over 50?
It’s good for your heart
It is quite clear that one of the main benefits of this diet is the great impact it has on our heart health. The canola oil, walnuts, and fatty fish in this diet contain omega-3 fatty acids which is a type of fat that helps to lower triglycerides (fat in our blood), keep our blood pressure stable and our vessels healthy. Al of these benefits our heart health in the long run.
What to eat and avoid?
On the Mediterranean diet, you should typically eat:
- Daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables.
- Opt for whole grains. Switch to whole-grain bread, cereal and pasta. Experiment with other whole grains, such as bulgur and farro.
- Eat healthy fats. Try olive oil as a replacement for butter when cooking. Instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.
- Enjoy seafood weekly. Eat fish twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid deep-fried fish.
- Reduce red meat. Substitute fish, poultry, or beans for meat. If you eat meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small.
- Enjoy some dairy. Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.
On the Mediterranean diet, you should typically avoid:
- Refined grains. This includes white bread, white pasta, and pizza dough containing white flour
- Refined oils, which include sunflower oil and soybean oil
- Sugar. Avoid foods with added sugars, such as pastries, sodas, and candies
- Red meat. This can include deli meats, hot dogs, and other processed meats
- Over-processed or packaged foods
So clearly what we can take away from this blog is that if we want to lose weight and age without heart disease, we all need to move to Greece of the coastline of Italy and live a blissful life of fresh seafood, healthy fat, and veggies. Sounds like a great idea to us.