The Mediterranean Diet & Health
Note: PLEASE READ MY MEDICAL AND HEALTH DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFORMATION.
When I was a little girl, I never went abroad. Regarding foreign countries, all I knew was from history and geography classes. I did not know anything about the Mediterranean diet at all until I went to my first Italian pizza restaurant. I just felt that the food was delicious and there were a lot of kinds of vegetables and fruits and soft drinks. That was all I knew about it. Until now, I grow older and have some research and find out that the Mediterranean diet is really good for health.
Get to know more about the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet includes fruits, legumes, olive oil, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. The more I know, the more I can the right from wrong. It has good nutrients such as healthy fats rather than over-processed foods, sugar, and trans fats which do improve your health such your brain and bones.
The Mediterranean diet includes:
- Plant-based foods come first in your daily meal, such as locally-grown or seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Healthy fats like olive oil and canola oil are better for your health than butter.
- Eat white meat like fish, seafood, and poultry.
- Add beans and nuts like almonds and walnuts to your dishes or salads or any way you can think of to eat them together.
- Eat whole grains like brown rice, couscous, oatmeal rather than refined carbs like white bread.
Why you should switch to the Mediterranean diet?
- Good for your health
No matter how old you are, you have to take your health seriously. Never think you are too young to care about it. The Mediterranean diet fits everyone. It includes mainly fresh food rather than processed and junk food. If you stick to the Mediterranean diet, you would avoid many potential health problems like the heart and brain disease. For example, olive oil lowers cholesterol. Fruit and vegetable help to cleanse your arteries.
- No major calorie issue
The Mediterranean diet is about the whole food and the original food with no artificial flavor, refined flour, and sugar. Eat slowly and moderately. Then you would feel that you have it enough easily and maintain the good eating habit.
- Easy to Make
The Mediterranean diet is easy to prepare. Most of them are fresh vegetable and fruit. Do not bother to add a lot of oil to fry. Just steam them or just eat it like a salad with dressing and nuts. You would be used to it very quickly.
- Healthy fat
The Mediterranean diet includes nuts, olives, and olive oil. These are good and healthy fats and can help you fight diseases such as diabetes and improve cognitive health. Be careful of saturated fats and trans fats, you would eat them easily because they exist in snacks and cakes very often.
- Drink red wine
It is very common to have a glass of wine while you have lunch or dinner. So is the Mediterranean countries. Have some wine and relax a little bit would help you take a break, especially red wine. But drink it moderately. If you have another personal or healthy issue of drinking wine, you can go ahead and skip it.
- Multiple spices
You would often see a lot of herbs and spices in the Mediterranean diet like bay leaves, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, garlic, pepper, rosemary, and so on. These would increase the flavor of your meals rather than the only salt. They contain antioxidants and nutrients like rosemary.
- Full of fiber
The Mediterranean diet includes mainly fresh fruit, vegetable, and nuts which has full of fiber. Fiber is digested slowly and you would not feel hungry easily and quickly. Feeling hungry rarely happens between meals especially when you eat cheese, hummus, nuts, and sweet potatoes.
- Lose weight
If you are used to fast food, candy, ice cream, fried chicken, it is time to change your eating habit. You would be amazed that how it changes your body and your health. You do not have to spend a fortune to the fitness center or hire a private tutor to tell you what to do. Simply changes your food would make a difference and you do not have to eat very little and starve yourself. This is amazing.
- Varies recipes
The Mediterranean region includes a lot of countries around the Mediterranean Sea like Greek, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, and etc. The Mediterranean recipe varies in different countries. Just stick to the basic components of the Mediterranean diet: fresh fruit and vegetable, nuts, olive oil, fish, and whole grains.
- Wholegrain bread and pasta
Use wholegrain flour to replace refined flour because they have more nutrition like protein and minerals. When you eat bread with olive oil or hummus to increase the flavor, you can enjoy delicious food and have good health at the same time. You would have more fiber and feel hungry slowly.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Let’s get to know more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and how it improves our health and fight against disease like cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease.
- Fight against cancer.
- Healthy fats can improve memory and cognitive ability.
- Lower the risk for heart cardiovascular disease like heart attack and reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
- Olive oil may help preserve bone density to strengthen bones.
- Whole grain food and less refined flour food can help control blood sugar and diabetes.
The Mediterranean Diet Practice
Nobody says that changing your eating habit is a piece of cake. Even though you know the Mediterranean diet is good for your health, you would find out a lot of reasons or excuses to persuade yourself to embrace it. Maybe you do not like the way to chew the whole grain bread or you do not like fish. A lot of situations that you could think of do exit commonly. Therefore, take your time to adjust it little by little so that you would not be against it so much. You can start it by replacing 1-2 items in your meal with a limited amount. Then you would not feel that it is so difficult. Let’s take a look at it.
- Plenty of vegetables play important roles in the Mediterranean Diet. Most of your meals should be plant foods. For example, you can have tomatoes sliced and cheese with olive oil make salads and vegetable soups. Or you have some whole wheat bread with olive oil.
- Limit your intake of red meat. If you eat red meat, choose the lean and small part with a different vegetable. Try to stop eating processed meat like bacon, ham, and sausage.
- Have some Greek or plain yogurt or any kind of yogurt in your country.
- Eat fish once to twice a week like a tuna and salmon which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Try to make a dish with beans, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and add your favorite herbs or spices without salt.
- Embrace Whole grains to get many different nutrients and ﬁber to keep you satisﬁed for hours.
- Eat various kinds of fresh fruits like grapes and apples. No dessert, cakes and ice cream after dinner or when you are craving for something.
- Have a hand of nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts in the morning or afternoon. Try tahini and peanut butter as a spread for bread.
- Healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, sunﬂower seeds, and avocado oil are very good for your health. Try to use it to replace butter or margarine. You can use it in cooking or salad dressings.
- Have red wine with your family and friends moderately.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of life, a kind of attitude, and a lifestyle. If you are willing to try it and give it a chance to change your eating habit, more or less you would gain something and improve your health.