Mediterranean Diet: Do’s and Don’ts (Comprehensive Guide)
Finding a diet that does not harm your health is not difficult, just read the following article because it is your guide to the Mediterranean diet that will benefit your health first, and then your life.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
Mediterranean cuisine (Mediterranean cuisine ) is the traditional diet of Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Croatia and Italy, and this diet is also known to promote heart health, weight loss, and risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
The most important characteristic of this diet is that it includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and fresh seafood, and reduces meat, dairy products and their derivatives, which helps to lose weight and maintain good health with others, and enjoy everything.
What foods are allowed in the Mediterranean diet?
The foods in the Mediterranean diet vary between vegetables, fruits and white meat, but with us you will know more about the foods allowed in this diet:
- Fruits and vegetables: such as beans and potatoes.
- Nuts and seeds: such as walnuts and sunflower seeds.
- Whole grain products: eg bread and pasta made from barley, oats and wheat.
- Various fish and seafood: such as salmon and shellfish.
- Healthy unsaturated fats: eg avocado and extra virgin olive oil.
- White meat: such as chicken.
- Herbs and spices: To add flavor to food.
- Water: The most popular and necessary drink in the Mediterranean diet.
While following a Mediterranean diet, eat seafood at least twice a week and use olive oil instead of butter and other oils when cooking.
Forbidden Foods in the Mediterranean Diet
To get the most out of the Mediterranean diet, limit as much as possible the following foods and drinks:
- Milk or dairy products: such as eggs, yogurt, cheese, cream and their derivatives.
- Red and processed meat: such as lamb, sausage, and beef.
- Sweets and wine: You can replace sweets with fruit.
- Butter: It should be replaced with natural olive oil made from green olives.
Mediterranean diet benefits
There are many benefits of this diet that you may not be aware of and you will also be surprised to learn that:
1. Heart healthy diet
The Mediterranean diet helps promote heart health and blood vessel movement and reduces the risk of various diseases in the circulatory system such as high blood pressure and its problems and heart attacks.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in southern European countries is 2:10%, while in northern European countries it is 10:18%, due to different eating habits.
2. Mediterranean diet and cancer
This diet helps reduce the risk of most types of cancer, including breast cancer, because it contains less red meat and even foods made with whole grains.
3. Mediterranean diet and diabetics
The Mediterranean diet improves blood sugar levels, especially in people with type 2 diabetes, aids in weight loss and improves blood cholesterol, as the diet includes plant foods and less red meat and carbohydrates.
4. Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, memory problems and dementia.
Also, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet include treating joint pain, delaying aging, and helping you stay young for longer; Because it contains antioxidant foods, avoid eating canned foods and harmful fats that cause many infections and health problems.
5 . sleep aid diet
Recent studies in people over 65 years of age who followed the Mediterranean diet showed that they slept adequately and slept longer than before, and the results showed that this eating pattern reduces insomnia and shortens interrupted sleep.
Mediterranean diet for weight loss
The Mediterranean diet encourages consumption of a variety of healthy foods rich in fiber, vegetables, fruits, and protein, and limits the intake of processed foods as well as high-calorie sugars, all of which help reduce weight gain and the accumulation of body fat.
This was found in one of the studies conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in preventing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It was found that people who followed this diet lost slightly more weight compared to the low-fat diet. They also had the smallest increase in waist size compared to the low-fat diet.
Other studies have also linked the Mediterranean diet to maintaining a healthy weight for children and pregnant women.
How does the Mediterranean diet help you lose weight?
The Mediterranean diet helps you lose weight, because the diet consists of fruits, vegetables, fish, white meat and foods made of whole grains, in addition to physical activity along with the diet, it helps you lose weight.
mediterranean diet recipes
Here is an example of a 7-day Mediterranean Diet recipe, plan and meal:
Fried eggs, whole wheat toast, roasted tomatoes and for extra calories you can add another egg or a few slices of avocado to the toast.
2 cups mixed vegetable salad with cherry tomatoes, olives, olive oil and vinegar, whole grain bread and ½ cup hummus.
A whole-grain pizza with tomato sauce, grilled vegetables, and low-fat cheese to top it off, and for extra calories add some chicken, tuna, or pine nuts to your pizza.
A cup of Greek yogurt, half a cup of fruit such as blueberries, berries or chopped tangerines, and for more calories, you can add a quarter cup of almonds or walnuts.
A whole-grain sandwich with grilled veggies like eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions, and for a calorie boost, you can add hummus or avocado to the bread before adding the fillings.
Half an oven-baked fish or salmon can be cooked with garlic and black pepper as a flavor enhancer, as well as French fries with olive oil and garlic.
Top a cup of whole-grain oats with cinnamon, dates and honey, then top with low-sugar fruits like berries and some grated almonds (optional).
Boiled white beans with spices such as bay leaves, garlic, cumin and a cup of watercress with olive oil sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese.
1/2 cup whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, olive oil, and grilled vegetables, garnished with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan.
Two eggs with peppers, onions and tomatoes, topped with a quarter avocado.
Toasted anchovies in olive oil on whole-wheat toast with a sprinkle of lemon juice, served with a warm 2-cup salad of steamed cabbage and tomatoes.
2 cups steamed spinach with a sprinkle of lemon juice and herbs, plus 1 poached artichoke with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt.
A cup of Greek yogurt with cinnamon and honey, then mixed with a chopped apple and grated almonds.
A cup of quinoa with paprika, sun-dried tomatoes and olives with chickpeas, thyme and crumbs of feta cheese or avocado (optional).
A cup of steamed cabbage with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, lemon juice and Parmesan and a serving of grilled sardines with sliced lemon.
Two slices of wholemeal toast, topped with soft cheese like ricotta, fresco, or goat cheese, then chopped blueberries or figs for sweetness.
A cup of mixed vegetables with tomatoes, cucumbers and a grilled chicken piece with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.
Add some oven-roasted vegetables, artichokes, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, olive oil and heavy herbs before frying them with a cup of whole wheat couscous.
Add a cup of whole grain oats with cinnamon, dates, and maple syrup, then add some low-sugar fruits like berries or blackberries.
We put the cooked zucchini, squash, onions, potatoes, then in tomato sauce with a little herbs.
A cup of green leafy vegetables such as watercress or spinach with tomatoes, olives, olive oil and a small portion of white fish.
Mediterranean diet side effects
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are numerous, but there can be some negatives, which are as follows:
- Iron Deficiency: Food sources rich in iron should not be neglected and included in your diet so that the level of iron in your body does not decrease.
- Calcium deficiency: When you reduce your intake of dairy products and their derivatives, you can develop calcium deficiency.
- Weight gain: While it will help you lose weight, eating saturated fats such as nuts and olive oil can increase your weight.
After learning about the Mediterranean diet, its benefits and potential harms, as well as its recipes, we recommend that you check its compatibility with your health condition before following it, and we wish you continued health and wellness.