Seafood paella, Mediterranean diet

How does the Mediterranean diet work?

The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle approach continues to be one of the best prescriptions for long healthy life.

There’s not a single Mediterranean diet plan since every country along the Mediterranean sea has a different cuisine, but in general, you’d be eating lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy grains, olive oil, small amounts of meat and dairy, and red wine.

The Mediterranean diet works best when is combined with exercising

This lifestyle also encourages daily exercise, sharing meals with others and, unlike many other diets that are focused on what you must avoid, the Mediterranean diet is about enjoying life.

The Mediterranean diet allows plenty of variety and experimentation.

Cooking and shopping are simplified keeping pantry staples like olive oil, canned Tomatoes, whole grains, pasta and tuna on hand, and shopping for fresh produce and seafood a few times a week.

The Mediterranean diet relies on herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt, which helps if you’re looking for a low-sodium diet.

The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle more than a diet

If you’re looking for a long-term lifestyle change, this can be a fun and realistic way to do it. Approach your food in a new way and enjoy the foods you like in moderation.

What does the Mediterranean diet consist of?

A diet with delicious food that stood the test of time, and helps keeping you healthy for years to come.

What’s at the heart of the traditional Mediterranean diet pyramid.

You’ll eat mostly plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole grain bread, beans, nuts, and seeds, you can have yogurt, cheese, poultry and eggs, fish and seafood at least twice a week, red meats are okay occasionally.

Olive oil is a must in the Mediterranean diet

Good fats get a stamp of approval with olives, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, and avocados, instead of butter or margarine, you’ll use olive oil.

While cooking reach for herbs and spices to add flavor.

Red wine gets a thumbs up in moderation, one glass for women one to two for men, but water is your go-to drink.

Dessert is usually fruit.

a pizza

Fresh produce is a staple of the Mediterranean diet

Pomegranate, grapes, figs and other orange and purple fruits are delicious, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Cantaloupe, peaches, and nectarines contain antioxidants that improve your health and help your body get good natural sugars minerals and vitamins.

Many Mediterranean diet foods snacks can be quick and easy to grab, such as the clementine, a handful of nuts, or a dip of whole wheat pita chips into hummus.

Why is the Mediterranean diet so healthy?

The Mediterranean diet scores are big in many heart health studies.

Many studies suggest it can make you less likely to get heart disease, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and may also help you avoid certain cancers and chronic diseases.

1. Olives are great for your heart health

Olives and olive oil are great for your heart health, your brain, your immune system, and even your weight.

They contain a unique compound called oleuropein, which is a powerful polyphenol that can mean the difference between you dying early of a heart attack or living healthy and happy well into old age.

They are also loaded with healthy nutritious fats that will keep your hunger at bay.

2. Seafood is high in omega-3

Fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids as well as many other nutrients.

Eating fish has been proven to increase gray matter in the brain, preventing age-related deterioration.

It has also been proven in some cases to ease depression.

Wild-caught seafood, such as fish, shellfish, shrimp, lobster, mussels, and even squid and octopus, are incredible for your health.

And don’t forget anchovies and sardines, thanks to their lean protein and most importantly their high omega-3 content.

Shrimp even have an added bonus, if you eat the shells you’re consuming one of nature’s lectin blockers.

3. A glass of red wine for your brain health

How about red wine.

Let’s be clear, do NOT go crazy and drink a bottle of red wine every night and if you’re not a drinker please don’t start drinking.

But a small six-ounce glass at night is actually pretty good for your health, thanks in part to a polyphenol called resveratrol.

Resveratrol is linked to a huge number of health benefits. It’s got anti-inflammatory properties, antiviral properties and it’s even connected to heart and brain health.

So feel free to pour yourself a toast to good health.

4. Garlic and onions to keep your arteries healthy

What about garlic and onions.

When you look at Mediterranean recipes, they almost always seem to start with garlic, onions or a mixture of the both cooked in olive oil, and that’s fantastic, both when it comes to flavor and when it comes to your health.

Garlic and onions are chock-full of polyphenols, and they’re pretty high in sulfur too.

Sulfur helps build strong muscles, keep your veins and arteries healthy, and even help your skin look great.

beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea from a balcony

5. Stay active as part of the lifestyle

Being active every day is part of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

The Mediterranean diet is good for your overall health

The Mediterranean diet is good for health conditions like helping your heart and improving your cholesterol.

This diet may also help to lower your odds of getting Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression.

Of course, many other things also affect your health including your genes, how active you are and whether you smoke.

Study case

Researchers notice that people living along the Mediterranean Sea have the highest adult life expectancy and the lowest rates of coronary heart disease.

In a different study shown in the Harvard Medical School, researchers looked at the dietary habits of more than 10,000 women in their 50s and 60s and compared them to how the women fared health-wise 15 years later.

Women who followed a healthy diet during middle age were about 40% more likely to live past the age of 70 without chronic illness and without physical or mental problems than those with less-healthy diets.

The healthiest women were those who ate more plant foods, whole grains, and fish; ate less red and processed meats, and had limited alcohol intake. That’s typical of a Mediterranean-type diet, which is also rich in olive oil and nuts.

Study case

A preliminary study in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that older women in Spain who ate a traditional Mediterranean diet enhanced with extra-virgin olive oil were less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Is the Mediterranean diet good for weight loss?

The Mediterranean diet is a balanced and complete set of eating habits, that can help you lose weight especially when paired with a healthy lifestyle.

For weight loss you’ll have better results if you stick with it for more than six months, get regular exercise and cut back on how much you eat.

Lose more weight with the Mediterranean diet than with a fat-restricted diet

Studies show that eating a diet containing good fat from olive oil and nuts, actually helps people lose more weight than eating a fat-restricted diet.

Sticking to this diet can help you lose weight while still getting the proper vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need.

The Mediterranean diet does not involve avoiding fat entirely. It just involves eating the right type of fat.

Extra virgin olive oil is the fat of choice to use for cooking and dressing foods, this should largely take the place of butter in your diet.

Is the Mediterranean diet suitable for vegetarians?

Vegetarians and vegans should stick with fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

If you’re vegan you’d need to skip the dairy products.

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