Mediterranean diet brings before us lovely olives, vegetables, fruits etc. This diet is becoming highly popular among the health conscious. Even doctors recommend this diet to their patients. Mediterranean diet is said to boost both mental and physical energy.
Is Mediterranean diet a low-fat diet?
Health conscious individuals will always opt for a low-fat diet. A diet which will help maintain cholesterol levels is important. A Mediterranean diet mainly contains unsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil etc. Fishes like salmon, tuna, nuts, fruits, green leafy vegetables etc are included in this diet. Mediterranean diet does not include sources of saturated fats.
A heart healthy eating plan
As per research, Mediterranean diet plan is very good for the heart. The diet contains less amount of bad cholesterol or the LDL that is low-density lipoprotein. Mediterranean diet is not just good for the heart but it is also found to reduce the risk of cancer and helps in keeping the brain healthy. It helps prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease and also lowers the risk of breast cancer in women.
Risk of dementia, type II diabetes, metabolic complications, depression can also be reduced with a Mediterranean diet plan. According to research, a healthy traditional Mediterranean diet shows that almost 80% of coronary heart diseases and 70% stroke incidences can be avoided.
The Mediterranean diet mainly aims at including foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. The diet makes use of healthy fats like canola oil and olive oil. Herbs and spices, poultry and fish are used in Mediterranean foods. Use of red meat is avoided. The diet mainly includes
- Olive oil
- Fresh fruits and vegetables like green leafy vegetables and non-starch vegetables like eggplant, artichokes, fennel, tomatoes etc.
- Almonds, sesame seeds (the famous tahini dish contains these seeds), legumes, beans, lentils, chickpeas ( yummy hummus is made from chickpeas),whole grains
- Herbs and spices like oregano, rosemary, parsley etc are used on a large scale
- Fish, poultry, eggs, goat milk, low-fat kefir or yogurt are also included in the diet
- Red wine in moderate amount
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet
- Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest way to losing weight
- Does not include processed foods and sugars
- Improves heart health and also protects cognitive health.
Ways to follow Mediterranean diet for better health
- Get rid of that butter and saturated fats. Instead make use of healthy options like olive oil and canola oil for cooking and for salad dressings. You can also make use of walnut oil. These oils have mono-saturated fats which are good for the heart and the healthy omega3 fatty acids.
- Get your proteins from whole grains, vegetables, skinless chicken, turkey, fish like salmon and tuna. Avoid red meat which will reduce your saturated fat intake.
- Treat yourself with vegetables throughout the day. Keep in mind that you must include different coloured vegetables as this will provide you with variety of vitamins and antioxidants
- Include different grains in your diet like barley, quinoa etc. In the case of bread, pasta, etc make sure you go for the whole grain variety. Avoid using the refined flour products completely
- Munch nuts like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds etc. These are healthy snacks as against your packet of cookies and chips. You can also include low fat cheese and low-fat yogurt.
- For your dessert cravings, have a bowl of fruits instead of desserts. You can add a little honey to the fruits.
- Drink moderately and eat slowly
Mediterranean diet is a healthy way of keeping your body in shape. No wonder it is one of the most recommended diets by doctors for health conscious people.