Tag Archives: Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet: A Guide For Beginners

If you are looking for a diet that is healthy for your heart, then the Mediterranean diet is perfect for you. The Mediterranean diet consists of basic healthy dishes and other things like delicious olive oil and red wine are also included. This diet is identified by traditional style of cooking in countries close to Mediterranean Sea.

Photo Courtesy: Beachbody on Demand

Like most healthy diets, this diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish. But some more foods may be included to decrease the risk of heart disease.

 Advantages of Mediterranean Diet

According to research, the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces risk of heart disease. The diet is known for low level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The “bad” cholesterol gets deposited in your arteries.

A research was conducted on more than one million healthy adults and it was found that Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases and increased lifespan.

Mediterranean diet also reduces the risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Cancer. It was found that those women who had a Mediterranean diet and supplemented it with extra virgin olive oil and mixed nuts had a reduced risk of breast cancer.

This is why most scientific organisations suggest that healthy adults should adopt Mediterranean diet for preventing chronic diseases.

 Mediterranean Diet Components

Photo Courtesy: Health Minute

The emphasis of Mediterranean diet is:-

  • Eat primarily plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
  • Butter may be replaced with healthy fats like canola oil and olive oil.
  • Foods may be flavored with herbs and spices instead of salts.
  • Intake of red meat may be reduced to only few times in a month.
  • One should eat fish and poultry at least twice in a week.
  • Enjoying your meals with friends and family
  • You should consume red wine in moderation
  • Get lots of exercise.

The traditional foods that are included in Mediterranean diet are fruits, rice, pasta and vegetables. Eg. The amount of red meat consumed by the residents of Greece is very little as compared to nine servings of antioxidant rich vegetables and fruits.

Usually, the Mediterranean region is rich in whole grains and has low Trans fats. Bread is an important part of the diet in Mediterranean region. In this region, bread is eaten either plain or by dipping in olive oil.

Another great part of healthy Mediterranean diet are nuts. Nuts are rich in fat (80 percent of calorie intake comes from fat). But the fat content in nuts is not saturated. As they are high in calories, the nuts should not be taken in high amounts. Only handful of nuts should be eaten in a day.

 

Intake Healthy Fats

One should not limit total fat intake in a Mediterranean diet but should make wise decisions about the types of fat that you consume. In Mediterranean diet, it is discouraged to consume saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (Trans fats). Both of these lead to heart disease.

The primary source of fat in a Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Olive oil is a good source of monosaturated fats. This kind of fat can reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

The least processed forms of olive oils i.e. “Extra virgin” and “virgin” contain highest levels of protective plant compounds that act as antioxidants.

The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like canola oil and nuts are full of linoleic acid (which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid). The omega-3 fatty acids help in lowering triglycerides, decreasing blood clotting and help in lowering the chances of sudden heart attack. They improve the health of blood vessels and help in moderate blood pressure.

Fatty fishes like mackerel, herring, lake trout, albacore tuna, sardines and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In Mediterranean diet, fish is a staple food.

 

Intake Wine

A moderate amount of wine is a part of Mediterranean diet. Which means only 5 ounces (148 millilitres) of wine for women daily and not greater than 10 ounces of daily wine for men under age 65.

 

What to avoid?

One should avoid these unhealthy ingredients and foods:-

  • Sugar: Candies, ice cream, soda, table sugar etc.
  • Refined Grains: Pasta, white bread prepared with refined wheat.
  • Trans fats: It is found in processed foods and margarine.
  • Refined oils: Canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil etc.
  • Processed meat: like hot dogs, sausages etc.
  • Highly processed foods: Like “low-fat” or “diet” food.

 

Sample Menu of Mediterranean Diet for 1 Week:-

 Here is a sample menu of Mediterranean diet for one week.

 Monday

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Raisins and Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Leftover tuna salad
  • Dinner: Salad with ingredients like olives, tomatoes and feta cheese.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Omelette containing onions, tomatoes and veggies. A piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with fresh vegetables and cheese.
  • Dinner: Mediterranean lasagne

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Yogurt, sliced fruits and nuts.
  • Lunch: Lasagne that is leftover from previous night.
  • Dinner: Broiled salmon served with vegetables and brown rice.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Vegetables and eggs, fried in olive oil.
  • Lunch: Greek yogurt and nuts, strawberries and oats.
  • Dinner: Baked Potato, salad and grilled lamb.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with apple, nuts and raisins.
  • Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich and vegetables
  • Dinner: Mediterranean pizza prepared with whole wheat and topped with cheese, olives and vegetables.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with olives and veggies.
  • Lunch: Leftover pizza
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with potato and vegetables. Fruit as dessert.

Top 10 Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes

One of the best and healthiest way of eating is Mediterranean Diet, high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. Eating the Mediterranean way is one that’s easy to stick to. You’ll also get the benefits of fresh foods, heart healthy fats and mood-boosting foods that are key factors of the diet.
A Mediterranean diet include healthy living habits of people mostly from France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The main concept of this diet includes comparable high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products, moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat (non-fish) products.
If you’ve been looking for inspiration, you have to try our best Mediterranean diet recipes. You’re guaranteed to find a new favourite!
  1. Fattoush Salad:

    Fattoush Salad
    Image Courtesy: Good Chef Bad Chef

    Fattoush is lebanese bread salad largely consumed in middle east. Fattoush Salad is a colorful tossed salad with a lemony garlic dressing, and if you’ve never prepared an Arabic dish before, this is a delicious, healthy and easy way to start with.

  2. Lemon Shrimp Pasta:

    Lemon Shrimp Pasta
    Image Courtesy: Food Network

    Lemon Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Pasta is made in just one pot and ready in 20 minutes! This Fresh shrimp gets cooked in a buttery lemon garlic sauce and gets tossed in Parmesan cheese and pasta.

  3. Tabbouleh:

    tabbouleh salad
    Image Courtesy: Food Network

    Tabouli salad (Tabbouleh) is a simple salad made with cracked wheat, finely chopped cucumber and tomatoes, lots of fresh parsley, fresh herbs, all tossed with lime juice and olive oil.

  4. Hummus:

    Hummus
    Image Courtesy: NYT Cooking

    A traditional Hummus is creamy, light and fluffy made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with olive oil,  garlic and lemon juice. This recipe is best for making sandwiches, or for serving with breadsticks.

  5. Swordfish with Capers:

    Swordfish with capers
    Image Courtesy: Swordfish with capers

    After the swordfish is cooked, wine is added to the hot pan to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This procedure creates a highly flavored sauce that perfectly complements the fish.

  6. Lentil soup with Kale:

    Lentil soup with kale
    Image Courtesy: Food52

    A hearty, vegan lentil and kale soup packed with vegetables, protein and fiber. A delicious, filling, healthy soup with a little spicy heat. This soup will keep you full for hours while also nourishing your body like plants.

  7. Spanakorizo:

    Spanakorizo
    Image Courtesy: OMGfood

    One of our favourite vegetarian meal. Most often, it is made white – without the use of tomato paste added to the cooking liquid. Spanakorizo is a Greek vegetarian dish of spinach and rice.

  8. Eggplant frittata:

    Eggplant frittata
    Image Courtesy: Matters of the Belly

    This Italian Eggplant Fritatta is served with Black Diamond Italiano Shredded Cheese for brunch and guests won’t leave one bite untouched!

  9. Salmon with Saffron Sauce:

    Salmon with Saffron Sauce
    Image Courtesy: Flavours of India

    Herbed and Peppered Salmon with Saffron Sauce is a delicious Italian recipe served as a Starter. If preferred, the sauce and salmon can be cooked separately.

  10. Eggplant Warm Salad:

    Eggplant Warm Salad
    Image Courtesy: WYZA

    A simply roasted warm eggplant salad with spicy cheese, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a perfect side dish for any party and evening snacks.

You can make your diet more Mediterranean-style by:

  • Low intake of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta.
  • Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil.
  • Low intake of meat and dairy related foods.
  • Moderate to high consumption of fish in your diet.