The Mediterranean diet meal plan is one of the most popular Meal plans in the world, and for good reason. But what is the reason the Mediterranean diet meal plan is so popular, and how can you incorporate it into your daily eating habits? In addition to helping you lose weight, studies indicate that this flexible and sustainable eating strategy can also benefit your heart and brain in ways that other diets can’t.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is exactly what it sounds like—it’s about eating foods typically found in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. That means a diet high in fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and vegetable oils. Processed foods are taboo, but dairy, meat, and wine can be consumed in moderation, making the diet very workable and not entirely restrictive.
Basically, whole plant foods, lean protein, and healthy fats get the thumbs up. Saturated fats, added sugars, and processed foods are a total no-no.
Tips for following the Mediterranean diet eating plan
Cooking with olive oil
Olive oil is a large component of the Mediterranean diet and one of the healthiest fats out there. Use it in cooking and drizzle it over salads to reap its benefits.
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are a key part of the Mediterranean diet. Rich in vitamins, fruits and vegetables should be present in your menu at least once a day. Consume them in salads, in your meals, or even as healthy snacks, and you will soon feel the positive results!
Fish and Seafood
Since ancient times, the Mediterranean Sea has provided plenty of food for the people living on its shores and helped them flourish through trade. Fish and seafood are famous in Mediterranean cuisine. Rich in omega-3 fats, they should be consumed at least twice a week.
Red meat is at the top of the Mediterranean food pyramid, which means that it is the product to be consumed the least often, once or twice a month. Red meat is still consumed almost daily, despite its negative impact on health and the environment.
If you want to stick to the Mediterranean diet and protect your health, you should avoid or reduce the consumption of high-fat or processed meats, such as sausages, bacon, or ham, and focus on small portions of lean meats such as beef.
A quick but healthy snack that will fill you with energy! Nuts should be eaten daily, but in small portions, as they are high in fat and calories.
Choose raw and grilled nuts in your salads to add flavor, but avoid having them salted, candied, or roasted with honey.
Legumes, beans, and Seeds
Legumes, beans, and seeds are at the second level of the Mediterranean pyramid. Consider adding them at least three times a week to your menu and experimenting with different recipe ideas. Their taste will surprise you!
The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet
Most of the studies carried out on the Mediterranean diet have shown its effectiveness in maintaining a good general state of health. It has been widely shown that the Mediterranean diet reduces the incidence of:
- Colon cancer.
- Breast neoplasm.
- Myocardial infarction.
- Arterial hypertension.
- Digestive diseases.
- It inhibits the metabolic syndrome, which is one of the main causes of cardiovascular diseases.
A diet based on Mediterranean guidelines can help lower the body mass index. Studies are still being conducted, but it’s likely that the foods associated with the diet are high in antioxidants, which have numerous anti-inflammatory properties. Goodbye flatulence! Plus, these foods are high in fiber, which is like a superhero for your digestive tract.
Health for your brain
Researchers have begun to study the role of the Mediterranean diet in cognitive function and decline. So far, preliminary research suggests that the diet may help promote and prolong healthy brain function.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, it has been found that people who eat a Mediterranean diet are far less likely to have a stroke, heart attack, or other cardiovascular-related event than people who only stick to a low-fat diet. Including olive oil and nuts in their diet routine reduced the participants’ risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
According to the consulted bibliography, we can reach the conclusion that the adoption of a Mediterranean diet meal plan by any person has beneficial effects on their health as well as the prevention of diseases.