The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is based on traditional foods people used to eat in Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece. Researchers say that people on Mediterranean diet were much healthier compared to people who ate a western diet and had lower risk of many deadly diseases. Numerous studies show that the Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss, prevention of heart attacks and strokes, type 2 diabetes, and premature death.
The basics of the Mediterranean diet include:
· Eat most often: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
· Eat in moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
· Limit consumption: Red meat
· Avoid eating: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.
Here are some foods of the Mediterranean diet that you should try:
· Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
· Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
· Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
· Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
· Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
· Whole Grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole grain bread and pasta.
· Fish and Seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
· Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey and more
· Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs.
· Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
· Herbs and Spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
· Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil.
What to drink:
· Water. Water should be your go-to beverage on a Mediterranean diet.
· Red wine. Red wine should only be consumed in moderation, around 1 glass per day. However, if you struggle with alcoholism or problems controlling consumption, you should obviously avoid this.
· Coffee and tea
· Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices as these are very high in sugar.
When eating out at restaurants, aim to eat some type of fish or seafood as your main dish. You should also request to have your food cooked without any ingredients high in sodium or fat (extra virgin olive oil is a good alternative), and when the bread comes around, stick to eating whole grain or whole wheat bread instead of white bread. And make sure to skip the butter and use olive oil instead.