Is the Mediterranean Diet a Good Choice for Me?
The Mediterranean diet earned itself a reputation over the last few years for its purported benefits for mental and physical health. The diet, focusing heavily on colorful fruits, vegetables, and fish, can provide a wide range of health benefits.
It’s not for everyone, though. The diet follows some restrictions that people used to a traditional western diet might find too limiting. For some, the health benefits outweigh the limitations; others would prefer to stick with their old meal plans. You should find out the pros and cons of this diet before deciding to commit to it.
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The Mediterranean diet isn't as strict as many other diets, like the paleo diet, in terms of things that you explicitly can and can't eat. Since there were so many different countries and cities around the Mediterranean Sea, and the Sea itself home to so many different forms of wildlife, Mediterranean people weren't always eating the same things.
The basis of the Mediterranean diet, however, remains the same. The primary focus is on vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish, and lots of olive oil. This foundation is responsible for much of the health benefits that one can attain through eating the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet doesn't completely restrict you from too many foods. You're not supposed to eat anything with refined, added sugars or refined carbohydrates. This means no soda, ice cream, white bread, or regular everyday pasta.
Pretty much anything refined is off-limits: refined oils like canola oil, soybean oil and margarine, processed meat - no prepackaged hot dogs -and cheese, processed starches. Most foods that are labeled "low-fat" or "diet" have usually had their original nutritional makeup so severely altered that they're considered inappropriate for the Mediterranean diet.
You're only supposed to eat red meat very sparingly while undertaking the Mediterranean diet. Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are not forbidden, but you should minimize your intake as much as you can.
Good question. A list of ingredients can help you see where the Mediterranean diet gets its traditional flair, and you can start imagining meal ideas.
Good Mediterranean vegetables include tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, onions, tubers, cauliflower, carrots, and cucumbers. Fruits include a highly colorful assortment of oranges, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, peaches, apples, and so on.
The Mediterranean diet features a wide assortment of nuts and seeds for providing essential fatty acids: almonds, walnuts, pecans, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios to name a few.
Legumes make great bases for Mediterranean meals. Lentils, pulses, beans, chickpeas, and the like.
Seafood is the primary source of protein for the Mediterranean diet - salmon, sardines, trout, shrimp, squid, oysters, clams, crabs, mussels, and so on - seafood is a staple in this diet.
The spices and seasonings are a huge part of what gives the Mediterranean diet its trademark flavor and scent. Herbs used in the diet include garlic, rosemary, sage, basil, and mint, for deep, rich flavors, and cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper for 'hot' spices.
The Mediterranean diet also makes ample use of olive oil for its salad dressings, dipping sauces, and frying or grilling oil. Olive oil provides a remarkable, rich flavor and a healthy dollop of essential fatty acids.
The Mediterranean diet is widely recognized for being one of the most heart-healthy diets worldwide. The diet is also loaded with anti-inflammatory foods that can help boost your immune function.
Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet can protect against cardiovascular disease, metabolic problems, cancer, and diabetes. Many people also report that the diet makes it easy to lose weight and, believe it or not, is actually an enjoyable way to do so.
The Mediterranean diet has shown a lot of promise for improving a lot of cognitive functions. Research has shown that the abundance of essential fatty acids can have tremendous benefits for mental health. Our brains are large early made up of essential fatty acids, so it's important to that we get enough of them in our diet.
The Mediterranean diet has been associated with increases in memory, verbal fluidity, and general cognitive function.
Pretty much anybody who researches the Mediterranean diet can attribute a significant portion of its health benefits to olive oil. Olive oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fats. It's so healthy that the FDA even allows labels to be placed on olive oil that advertises it as a compound that reduces the chance of heart disease.
Not only is olive oil high in omega-3 is, but it's full of phenols which are strong antioxidants that further help to eliminate inflammation as well as preventing free radical damage. It's that contents is largely made up of monounsaturated fats, which are known for lowering LDL cholesterol - the bad kind - and raising HDL cholesterol, which is good.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the best diet plans for somebody who is hoping to lose weight with a diet without having to feel hungry all the time. Not only that, but this diet is very sustainable. It won't feel like a chore; it will feel awesome.
Also, the Mediterranean diet is very variable. You are not severely restricted in what you can and cannot eat, and you can develop drivers meal plans with the wide variety of foods available in the Mediterranean diet. You can even set it up to have a low-carb, high-protein regimen, or vice versa, or somewhere in between.
The diet provides a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and ensures you get an ample supply of protein and healthy fats. All of this comes with a limited calorie count, so you'll begin looking better and feeling better soon after you start eating this way.