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Mediterranean diet

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We all must have heard about the qualities and goodness of following a Mediterranean diet. But what is a Mediterranean diet? It is following a diet pattern that uses all the traditional foods and drinks that are easily available in the countries in the Mediterranean region. A pattern of diet followed in Italy, Greece and Spain. It is an easy, less expensive and more importantly good for your health. The word ‘Mediterranean’ stands for the region of its origin and it does not mean that you need to eat the way the Italian or Spanish way. 


Health benefits of Mediterranean diet

Most our diets are not balanced, but in the Mediterranean diet it includes a mix of specific food, with a different variety of food combinations. In most of the Mediterranean diet includes a high consumption of olive oils, fruits, vegetables, legumes and moderate consumption of fish and wine and a low consumption of red meat. This perfect combination of foods ensures that it is balanced and healthy for you. It has been found that this diet can reduce the chances of developing chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes type 2, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and hypertension.


What Mediterranean diet consists of ?

We all know that including a variety of foods in the diet makes it nutritious as well as interesting to eat, adding new flavors and tastes. As per the nutrition experts Mediterranean diets don’t have any miracle food or it contains any harsh diet restrictions, but it is simple and easy to follow a well balanced diet. Diet pyramids have been formed to help people have a better understanding of the Mediterranean diet. Doesn’t it sound simple and interesting? Want to know more about the Mediterranean diet? Let us have a quick look on the important facts as per Mediterranean diet pyramid.

The foods that you can consume more are given at the bottom of the pyramid and foods that should be least consumed are given at the top of the pyramid.

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  • Include lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grain cereals and more
  • Replace butter and oil with olive oil
  • Wine is allowed but in moderation
  • Include fish and chicken in moderation and try to avoid red meat
  • Replace salt in your diet with natural herbs like oregano, basil, thyme etc.
  • Drink plenty of water; avoid sugary and aerated drinks and alcohols.
  • Avoid processed foods and eat dry fruits and nuts for snacks

In Mediterranean diet there is no place for processed foods. The diet mainly includes nuts, whole grains like wheat, oats, barley corn and more, fruits and vegetables. All these are rich in antioxidants and anti inflammatory components and hence they are known to boost your immune system and protect the body. Since the diet is devoid of processed foods it can help in weight management.


How to plan Mediterranean diet

So, thinking of starting off with the new diet plan here is short overview of the entire diet and how to follow it

  • Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains
Include lots of vegetables and fruits in your regular diet and shift to whole grains like whole grain rice, wheat, barley, corn, oats and more. You can snack on fresh fruit salads, this can be refreshing and light on your tummy when compared to fried snacks and other processed foods.
  • Replace butter with olive oil
You can use olive oil instead of butter. Olive oil is good for health as it has oleic acid, hence you can use it as bread spread and also sprinkle it over your vegetable and even on pasta after cooking. As per the diet pyramid this is only lipid allowed.
  • Choose low fat dairy products
As per the Mediterranean diet pyramid, you need to limit the intake of dairy products up to 2 servings per day, have low fat skimmed milk and milk products
  • Eat fish and limit red meat

Fish and meat comes at the end of the pyramid which means they are to be consumed rarely or in limited quantities. Eat fish twice a week but limit red meat and consume it only twice a month.

It can be said that a Mediterranean diet will have different types of foods included in a balanced and healthy way and hence it is much favoured by the nutrition experts. This diet pattern is healthy, simple, and pleasant and more importantly it is less expensive as only traditional and regional fruits and vegetables are used.


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Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 19, 2013 

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