What is the Mediterranean Diet?
A Mediterranean style diet is unlike any other. The Mediterranean diet plan requires minimal sacrifices and causes much less misery. There is a little compromise on your appetite and a wide range of delicious nutritional alternatives to choose from in a Mediterranean diet food list. The Mediterranean diet is one of the most balanced diet plans. A Mediterranean food list is typically rich in green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, mostly fish and other seafood. Mediterranean foods are mostly cooked on good healthy fats, for instance, the amazingly light and healthy alternative in the form of extra virgin olive oil.
Why opt for a Mediterranean diet meal plan?
So, why should you really go for this Mediterranean style diet? Well if you read on till the end, you are sure to not ask this question. But in general, a Mediterranean diet plan entails the most healthy and fresh foods and majorly cuts down on heavy foods like red meat, fatty foods, and sugars. The taste and experience are never compromised, yet the nutritional value is supremely high and balanced. Even preparing your own Mediterranean diet meals and Mediterranean diet snacks are sensibly engaging and easy. Best of all, you could enjoy all your Mediterranean diet meals with a glass of wine and feel no remorse! Eminent dieticians all over the world have deemed the Mediterranean diet plan to be one of the most wholesome, sensible, and nutritionally sound diets.
5 Foods you need: Mediterranean Diet Food List
The following enlists the 5 main components of the Mediterranean diet food list. If you manage to incorporate these 5 foods into your diet and practice, you will soon see the difference in your daily life and health.
Legumes, also called pulses, are plant foods rich in nutrition; high in proteins and dietary fiber. They are connected with a lesser risk of type 2 diabetes, and it is similar to meat-based foods. In a classic Mediterranean style diet, meat was not eaten because of the lack of availability and the costs. Hence, plant-based protein from legumes became the major source of nutrition. Legumes typically include pulses like lentils, peas, beans, and chickpeas. In the Mediterranean diet plan, legumes are consumed almost every day! The following are a few legume recipes that you must try:
- mashed fava beans,
- pasta Fagioli,
- chickpea stew,
- bean salads,
- lentil stews,
- vegan stew with peas and carrots.
Leafy greens are imperative for the good health of our body and brain. A recent study found that people who regularly ate one to two servings of leafy greens on a daily basis showed cognitive ability similar to that of a person who would be 11 years younger when compared to those who did not eat any leafy green. Leafy green vegetables are a significant part of the Mediterranean diet food list. Green leafy vegetables include Kale, spinach, collard, and arugula, the entire lettuce family, and a wide range of herbs (like parsley and cilantro). Leafy greens are a fantastic source of nutrition and they are very easy to use and eat. They are also a smart way to add texture, color, and fresh flavor to your Mediterranean diet meals. There are a few Mediterranean diet recipes with Leafy Greens and Herbs that you must try:
- Vegan Potato Leek Soup,
- Spicy Cilantro Pesto,
- Cilantro Lime Chicken,
- Chicken Arugula Salad.
Extra Virgin Olive oil
All Mediterranean diets traditionally use organically made extra virgin olive oil in almost everything. Olive is used for salad dressings, marinating seafood and meats, roasting or sauté vegetables, and tossing with noodles or pasta. Olive oil is also added to dips like baba ganoush and hummus. Olive oil is the primary cooking fat in the Mediterranean diet. Studies have shown how olive oil plays a major role in heart health. Recent research shows how regular olive oil consumption helps in controlling blood clots. If you live in the USA, visit stores online to learn about Greek extra virgin olive oils Private Reserve and Early Harvest, a brand often suggested by dieticians. High quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils are grown organically from processed olives which have low acidity levels and high polyphenols.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are very much used in Mediterranean cuisine because there is an ample amount of nut trees around the Mediterranean. Nuts are used in Mediterranean foods in any and every way; simply as snacks, munchies, or incorporated in pesto, and various sauces. Nuts are an essential part of the daily Mediterranean diet meal plan. Many researchers believe that the protein content in nuts can be more effective in controlling heart diseases as compared to the protein content in meat. Nuts majorly help in controlling heart diseases and cancer and so they are linked to longevity. Some popular Mediterranean diet recipes with nuts include:
- Muhammara – roasted red pepper dip with walnuts,
- Olive Oil Banana Bread,
- Chunky Citrus Avocado Dip,
- Moroccan Chicken,
- Roasted Garlic Hummus.
The coastal areas across the Mediterranean sea feed on the delicious seafood from the sea. According to food experts, a Mediterranean style diet will always have at least two varieties of seafood preparations in a week. The preparations are made from different sources, including tuna and sardines. Eating fish is very important for a healthy diet. Fish had numerous benefits including a 40% lower chance of heart diseases and lower possibility of depression and anxiety as well. Easy Mediterranean Shrimp, Baked Salmon with Garlic Cilantro Sauce, Baked Fish with Tomato Capers, Greek Baked Cod with Lemon and Garlic are some of the popular seafood preparations.
What do you eat on the Mediterranean diet?
Now that we know in detail the major components of the Mediterranean diet food list, let us summarise the Mediterranean diet basics:
What to Eat MORE?
- whole grains,
What to Eat MODERATELY?
Lean proteins from:
- Other light poultry
What to Eat LESS?
Avoid red meats like pork, beef, lamb, or mutton. Choose fish or chicken as sources of lean protein. Avoid sugary sweets or completely eliminate them if you are bold enough to follow the stricter Mediterranean diet plan.
What to use for cooking?
Become a regular user of extra virgin olive oil which is a most healthy alternative. Some best options to include in your Mediterranean diet shopping list:
- Borges Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil
- Greek Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
What to add for Flavor and garnish?
Cut down on your cholesterol levels by reducing salt and sauces and instead, using much more fresh herbs, garlic, spices, and citruses.
After beginning to enjoy the Mediterranean way of cooking and eating, you will be able to include amazing flavors in your Mediterranean diet meals. Do make sure to have a look at special Mediterranean diet recipes. One thing to remember about Mediterranean diet recipes is that Extra Virgin olive oil is a must for any recipe. Avoid the heavy junky foods and adopt the Mediterranean diet food list rich in nutritious greens, nuts, beans, and seafood.