The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries such as Italy and Greece back in the 60s. Researchers have noted that these people are exceptionally healthy compared to American and had lowered risk of getting any lifestyle diseases.
Studies show that traditional Mediterranean recipes can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and even premature death. There’s no one right way to follow this kind of diet, as there are a lot of countries around the Mediterranean region, and people in different areas may have consumed different foods.
Here’s a quick run-down of the basics of the diet:
- What to Eat: Fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs and spices, seafood and extra virgin olive oil
- What to Eat in Moderation: Cheese, poultry, yogurt, eggs
- Rarely Eat: Red meat
- Avoid at All-Cost: Sugar-sweetened drinks, sugars, refined grains and oils, processed meat, and other highly processed foods.
The Foods To Eat
Exactly which foods belong to the Mediterranean diet is a bit controversial, this is partly due to the fact that there’s such a variation among different countries. But, the diet is mostly made up of the following foods:
■ Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges
■ Vegetables: Tomatoes, kale, spinach
■ Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts
■ Legumes: Beans, peas, peanuts
■ Tubers: Potatoes, turnips, yams
■ Whole Grains: Whole oats, corn, whole wheat
■ Fish and Seafood: Salmon, sardines, tuna
■ Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey
■ Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs
■ Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt
■ Herbs and Spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary
■ Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados
What to Drink
Water should be your top go-to beverage when it comes to the Mediterranean diet. The diet also includes moderate amounts of red wine — literally just 1 glass a day. However, this is completely optional, and wine should be avoided by anyone diagnosed with alcoholism or problems controlling their overall consumption.
Furthermore, coffee and tea are 100% acceptable; however, you should avoid sweet drinks and fruit juices, which are known to be high in sugar.
Of course, there are other Mediterranean recipes for beginners you can check out online if you’re just new to the diet. Just remember to take in your portions correctly and don’t overdo it.