How many diets do you know? Does your list include the Mediterranean diet? Well, I hope so, because this is one of the most popular and healthiest diets in the world. The diet is high in fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, cereals, and unsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. It also includes dairy foods and red meat, which are to be consumed in low quantities.
The Origin Of The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet originates in a part of the world considered to be very unique since that is where the entire history of the ancient world happened. It is where the advanced modern civilization begins.
The Mediterranean basin stretches from Italy in the north to Tunisia in the south and from Turkey alongside Jordan in the east to Cabo Verde in the west. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Sumerians depended on various sources of food including fish, seafood, vegetables, chickpeas, wheat, bread, rice, oats, nuts, olives, goat meat, and sheep meat. They also drank wine, which was mostly a preserve for the wealthy during that time.
These food items form the basis of the modern-day Mediterranean diet, which was created in 1952. More history of the ancient Mediterranean diet, I guess, is a lesson for another day. For today, let’s study the benefits of the modern Mediterranean diet and how to follow this diet, eating the foods you’ve always eaten since birth.
What Are The Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet?
This diet provides numerous benefits, most of which are health benefits. These include the following;
- Prevents stroke and cardiovascular diseases by limiting the intake of red meat or refined, processed foods.
- Helps with type 2 diabetes and lowers the risk of developing the condition by providing healthy fats that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids plus omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy compounds help lower high levels of glucose in the body, alleviating the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
- Protects the body from damages that are induced by oxidative stress by providing antioxidants. Oxidative-stress-induced damages have been blamed for aging and age-related disorders e.g atherosclerosis, arthritis, cataracts, and osteoporosis.
- Promotes longevity as supported by studies, which suggest that people who follow the diet at midlife are 46% more likely to live longer than 70 years without any chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and kidney problems.
- Promotes muscular strength and agility by supplying high amounts of beneficial nutrients that help protect muscles from damage.
- Boosts brain functions, leading to increased cognitive capabilities e.g improved concentration power, memory, learning abilities, and thinking abilities.
How To Follow The Mediterranean Diet
Now that you’ve learned the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, you may wonder how to get started with it. Do you buy this diet online and download the meals? Whereas many websites will sell this diet to you unapologetically, you really shouldn’t spend any money because you can have your own Mediterranean diet. As long as you know the foods to include, you should be able to.
As a recap, the Mediterranean diet is characterized by;
- A daily intake of a high amount of fruits, vegetables plus herbs & spices, whole grains, nuts, legumes(such as beans and chickpeas), and healthy unsaturated fats (e.g castor oil and olive oil).
- Regular eating of a moderate amount of dairy products like yogurt and cheese.
- Consumption of seafood, fish, eggs, and poultry no more than twice weekly.
- Drinking of water and wine (particularly red) as beverages.
- Very limited consumption of red meat.
A Simple 1 Day Mediterranean Diet Based Meal Plan
Here’s a simple 1-day meal plan to help you get started with the Mediterranean diet:
For breakfast, have whole grains, fruits, and a glass of milk. Both Sun Basket, Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron offer a wide range of sumptuous Mediterranean-friendly recipes and ingredients. Feel free to check out those options. For these and other top providers of Mediterranean-friendly meal kits, be sure to read this crucial post. It covers the above meal kit delivery services and others in detail.
2. Mid-Morning Snack
A snack may either be necessary or unnecessary, depending on how many hours your meals are apart from each other. If your lunch is longer than four hours away from breakfast, you will need a mid-morning snack. By consuming some, you’ll avoid being overly hungry and consequently overeating your lunch meal. For snacking, try your favorite nuts without any beverage. You could drink water if you feel thirsty after consuming those.
For lunch, you can have some vegetables, eggs and whole grains. The above meal kit delivery services offer many recipes that include these foods. For mouthwatering meal ideas involving these food items, just turn to the meal delivery services.
4. Evening Snack
You couldn’t go wrong with 2-4 slices of whole bread and tea as far as an evening snack goes. Alternatively, you could have any other snack with milk tea provided that it is made with whole wheat.
Wind up your day with a sumptuous platter of seafood with a glass of your favorite red wine. If you are not into seafood, feel free to substitute the delicacy with fish. But if you have to eat red meat instead, make sure that you consume fewer quantities of that compared to seafood or fish.
The Mediterranean diet consists of dishes that are tasty, filling, and nutritious. This diet offers a whole lot of benefits, most of which lean towards health. These include it alleviates the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, prevents age-related disorders, and keeps stroke as well as cardiovascular diseases at bay. If you are not following this diet yet, it’s about time you start doing so. To get started, just consider the simple 1-day meal plan above. With nothing more to add, good luck with that.