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What Is The Mediterranean Diet Anyway?



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Photo: Claudia Totir / Getty Images

The Mediterranean diet has been ranked the "best diet" for the past several years by the US News & World Report. With its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and red wine (yes, wine!), It's no wonder that the Mediterranean diet is a favorite among nutritionists and healthcare professionals.

Before you get all excited: It's not a license to load up on pasta, hummus, and olives.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Although it's well-known, the Mediterranean does not have one true definition. (Which makes it easier and harder to follow.) In essence, it compiles the healthy eating patterns of people from Mediterranean cultures into one diet. There is no amount of calories, carbs, protein, or fat you can eat in a day, which is why many people consider the Mediterranean diet to be a "diet" and more of a way of life.

Which Foods Can You Eat on the Mediterranean Diet?

Plant-based.

Hard Rules are liberating from the diet, but the following groups of foods are encouraged foods: The main component of the Mediterranean diet is fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes. Unlike other diets that limit starchy foods or fruits, there are no restrictions on the types of plant-based foods you can eat on the Mediterranean diet.

Whole grains: The # 1

-ranked diet encourages you to eat grains. (Let that sink in for a second.) In other words, you may have to adjust your thinking about carbs. Brown rice, farro, kamut, spelled, bulgur, and barley. (See: Why-and Which-Healthy Carbs Belong In Your Diet)

Fish: The Mediterranean diet recommends eating fish at least twice each week, and data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that most Americans struggle to meet this recommendation. Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD, blogger and co-author of The 30-Minute. "I do not like that anymore Mediterranean Diet Cookbook . Segrave-Daly recommends fresh and frozen varieties of salmon, cod, tilapia, flounder, and tuna. "Canned seafood like canned tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab, and sardines are affordable and practical options as well," she adds.

Poultry, eggs, and dairy: Americans eat plenty of poultry, but eggs and dairy do not always get the love they deserve. But guess where Greek yogurt originated? Yep-the Mediterranean! Poultry, eggs, and dairy add protein, B vitamins, Vitamin D, and calcium to the diet.

Healthy fats: In addition to eating fish at least twice a week , the Mediterranean diet So encourages the consumption of olive oil, nuts, avocados, and seeds.

Red wine (moderation): Arguably the best part about the Mediterranean diet is the suggestion to drink red wine, due to its antioxidant benefits. Just remember that the recommended serving is 1 glass per night-an entire bottle to yourself during book club. (Sorry, again.)

Herbs and spices: Lastly, the med diet encourages the use of herbs and spices to flavor food.

Which Foods Should You Avoid On the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet may not be considered a "diet" in the true sense of the word , but it does have restrictions.

"While it's a good idea to move away from highly processed foods (like shelf-stable baked goods), there is encouraging the consumption of whole foods." "The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook ." Ditch The sugared bottled sauces, packaged sweets, and chips, and embrace "the jarred tomato sauce, boxed pasta, canned tuna, frozen veggies, canned fruit, whole grain crackers, and canned beans," says Ball. (Related Studies Suggest Pasta Can Help You Lose Weight)

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Time and time again.

Heart health: Heart diseases are the # 1 killer in the United States. Luckily, there's ample research on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for your heart. In one study, participants saw lower blood pressure readings following the Mediterranean diet for just six months, and a report found that the adherence to the diet could reduce the risk of several heart problems by up to 40 percent.

Cancer: According to a Comprehensive Review, People living in the Mediterranean region have lesser incidences of cancer than those in Northern Europe or the US

Weight loss: In research settings, when coupled with calorie restriction, the Mediterranean diet resulted in more weight loss than other diets as a low-fat diet.

Affordability: "You may not be happy with what it means to adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle," says Ball. "No ingredients are needed; in inexpensive in in Aff fish Aff fish Aff fish Aff diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol diet ol fish ol fish she adds.

Common Misconceptions About the Mediterranean Diet

Although it's not just easy for everyone to follow. Fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and dairy may be difficult to change without clear rules. The lack of guidelines about calories, carbs, protein, and fat can therefore be confusing.

If you're intrigued by the Mediterranean diet, do not know where to start, meet with a registered dietitian. (Related: 8 Reasons You Should See a Dietitian or Nutritionist.)

Another often overlooked aspect of the med diet is just as important as food choices. The people of the Mediterranean emphasize the importance of cooking your own meal, enjoying it together, and eating it together. (Related: Can the Mediterranean Diet Make You Happier?)

Lastly, the diet is not a guaranteed path to magically shedding pounds; the studies that resulted in weight loss. That means omitting the red wine most nights and limiting your portion of whole grains and healthy fats. [194559009] Omelet with veggies OR oatmeal with fruits, milk, and nuts

Lunch: A salad with tons of veggies + protein + oil based dressing OR A bowl of vegetable and bean soup with whole grain crackers

Snack: Crunchy roasted chickpeas with a hard boiled egg

Dinner: Piece of salmon + 1/2 cup whole grain + roasted veggies

Dessert: Piece of fruit + 1 tablespoon of nut butter

Want more guidance? Try this 7-Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan (yes, it's free) and these 50 Mediterranean Diet Meal Idea Recipes.


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