The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet that does not say no to meat. Specifically, the traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and unprocessed grains, low consumption of meat and meat products (maybe two to three times per month), and low consumption of dairy products.

All of this is bound by olive oil. Olive oil is essential in defining the Mediterranean diet. You cannot consume vegetables and legumes in the quantity in which they are consumed in the Mediterranean diet unless they are cooked in olive oil. a typical main dish at lunch or dinner consists of vegetables, legumes, and olive oil. What about fish? That depends on what part of the Mediterranean you’re talking about. The sea in Spain is very rich in fish, [but] the sea in Greece is not so rich in fish.

It explains that the combination of the various components of the Mediterranean diet is more important than any one component in isolation. There is significant evidence for an additive synergism between the components of the Mediterranean diet. Vegetables are stewed in olive oil with garlic, onion, and herbs, such as parsley, oregano, and basil. As a result, the end product provides, in addition to the macronutrients, many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

What Is the Mediterranean Diet Exactly?

The Mediterranean diet is mostly plant-based. Paravantes-Hargitt says, “It’s essentially a peasant diet. People would eat whatever they had growing in their gardens, along with some dairy and olive oil.”

For a handy visual look at the Mediterranean diet of today, Paravantes-Hargitt recommends checking out Oldways, an organization, along with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the World Health Organization, that created the Mediterranean diet pyramid 25 years ago. The core foods stand atop whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and olive oil. The groups recommend eating fish and seafood twice a week and moderate amounts of dairy, eggs, and poultry. Red meat and sweets are consumed just sometimes.

How does it work?

The Mediterranean diet is based on foods that people in countries like Italy and Greece have traditionally eaten. It is rich in:

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • whole grains
  • fish
  • nuts
  • lentils
  • olive oil

Foods such as poultry, eggs and vegetables should be consumed in moderation. dairy products, and limit red meats.

In addition, limited Mediterranean diet:

  • Refined grains
  • Trans fats
  • Processed meats
  • Added sugars

Other highly processed foods

Health benefits

This diet emphasizing minimally processed foods and plants has been linked to a reduced risk of many chronic diseases and increased longevity. Studies have also shown that the Mediterranean diet is effectively preventing certain cancers.
Although this diet is designed to reduce the risk of heart disease, many studies show that a plant-based diet rich in unsaturated fats can also help with weight loss.
A systematic review analyzing five different studies found that compared with a low-fat diet, the Mediterranean diet resulted in more weight loss after 1 year. Compared to a low-carb diet, it yielded similar weight loss results.
A 12-month study of 500 adults found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with twice the ability to maintain weight loss.

A Mediterranean Diet May Stave Off Type 2 Diabetes

For type 2 diabetes management and the possible prevention of the disease, a Mediterranean diet may be the way to go.

Using participants from PREDIMED, scientists randomized a subgroup of 418 people ages 55 to 80 without diabetes and followed up with them after four years to see if they had developed the disease. Participants who followed the Mediterranean diet, whether provided with free olive oil or nuts, had a 52 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes during the four-year follow-up, and they didn’t necessarily lose weight or exercise more. Likewise, previous research found that the Mediterranean diet improved blood sugar control more than the low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic index, and high-protein diets in people with type 2 diabetes. This finding suggests that a Mediterranean diet may be an effective way to help ward off type 2 diabetes-related health complications. (Source)

Additionally, the Mediterranean diet encourages eating foods rich in antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation and oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.

Recent studies have also shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of mental disorders, including cognitive decline and depression.

Eating less meat is also linked to eating more sustainably for the planet.

Limit these foods:

  1. High-fat milk products like cream or butter
  2. Processed meat like sausage, bacon, ham, salami, deli meats, and pâté; are higher in saturated fat and salt
  3. Higher fat fresh meats like marbled steak and roast, ribs, pork belly, duck, or chicken wings
  4. Foods with added sugar to 0–2 times a week; these include pop, iced tea, fruit drinks sweetened with sugar, baked goods (cakes, donuts, cookies, pastries), puddings, custard
  5. High-fat snack foods like french fries, potato chips, buttered popcorn, cheese puffs

Your 14-Day Mediterranean Diet Eating Plan

Want to start eating like a Greek? Here are some ideas about where to start when planning your menu. Note that we don’t give portion sizes. This is one diet in which calorie counting is not expected. What your body needs will be different from the next person.

Also, with Paravantes-Hargitt’s help, we’ll show you how to move toward a more Mediterranean-style of eating — rather than doing a total overhaul — that will fit with your lifestyle.

Sunday (Day 1)

  • Breakfast Coffee or tea with a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries
  • Snack Handful of almonds or walnuts
  • Lunch Half of a turkey sandwich made with whole-grain bread and a cup of lentil soup
  • Snack Sliced carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers dipped in hummus
  • Dinner Veggie and white bean stew

Monday (Day 2)

  • Breakfast Coffee or tea with plain Greek yogurt topped with a drizzle of honey and walnuts
  • Snack Roasted chickpeas
  • Lunch Leftover veggie and bean stew from yesterday’s dinner
  • Snack A peach (or apple, depending on the season)
  • Dinner Roasted chicken served with pita bread, tzatziki (a yogurt-based sauce), and a side salad

Tuesday (Day 3)

  • Breakfast Smoothie made with the milk of your choice, fruit, and nut butter
  • Snack ¼ avocado mashed with lemon juice and salt on top of whole-grain crackers
  • Lunch Three-bean soup topped with a dollop of pesto and served with a whole-grain roll
  • Snack Package of olives and fresh veggies
  • Dinner Salmon with farro and roasted zucchini and eggplant

Wednesday (Day 4)

  • Breakfast Coffee or tea and toasted whole-grain bread, sliced cheese, and strawberries
  • Snack Pistachios
  • Lunch Lentil-based salad with feta, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives
  • Snack Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
  • Dinner Grilled shrimp served with sautéed kale and polenta

Thursday (Day 5)

  • Breakfast Coffee or tea and a breakfast bowl of leftover farro (from dinner on day 3) topped with a poached egg and a few slices of avocado
  • Snack Dried apricots and walnuts
  • Lunch Quinoa, bean, and veggie salad served with a slice of whole-grain bread
  • Snack Whole-grain crackers and black bean dip
  • Dinner Marinated, grilled chicken skewers served with bulgur wheat and a cucumber and red onion salad

Friday (Day 6)

  • Breakfast Coffee or tea and smoked salmon, capers, and tomato slices
  • Snack In season fruit such as a peach or two apricots in summer, or a pear in winter
  • Lunch Mediterranean bean salad and whole-grain crackers
  • Snack Piece of cheese and olives
  • Dinner Moroccan lamb stew with couscous

Saturday (Day 7)

  • Breakfast Coffee or tea and Greek yogurt with sunflower seeds and raspberries
  • Snack Sliced orange and pistachios
  • Lunch A piece of whole-grain bread with sliced tomatoes, cheese, and olives
  • Snack Packaged, flavored lupini beans
  • Dinner Red lentil and vegetable stew

Cons

Since the Mediterranean diet doesn’t place much emphasis on dairy products, it’s important to make sure you’re still getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.

FAQs

What foods are eaten in a Mediterranean diet?

You will eat mostly plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil. Meals are planned around these foods. The diet also includes moderate amounts of lean poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs.19-Sept-2019 (Source)

What foods are not allowed in the Mediterranean diet?

While the Mediterranean diet is not a strict diet plan, foods that are generally not allowed on the Mediterranean diet include:
1. Processed red meats. Hot dogs.
2. Heavily processed foods. Frozen meals that have a lot of sodium.
3. Refined grains.
4. Alcohol (other than red wine)
5. Butter.
6. Refined, processed, or hydrogenated oils
(Source)

What are the dangers of the Mediterranean diet?

When the Mediterranean Diet Can Cause Problems:
1. Lower your cholesterol
2. Low levels of iron from not eating enough meat.
3. Calcium loss from eating fewer dairy products.
4. Help you lose weight
(Source)