What is the Mediterranean diet?

 What is the Mediterranean diet?

What is the Mediterranean diet
What is the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is a common diet in most countries that lie on the Mediterranean basin, such as Greece, Italy, France and Spain, and this diet combines the basics of healthy eating with traditional foods and cooking methods that are familiar to the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries. The Mediterranean diet is based on eating healthy foods such as pulses, olive oil and vegetables, and it has many health benefits for the body. In this article, here's everything you need to know about the Mediterranean diet.

What drew attention to the Mediterranean diet?

In 1960, researchers began to interest in the Mediterranean diet, in which the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries depended on eating traditional foods, and the researchers observed that the residents of these areas enjoyed better health compared to the people of the United States of America. As the death rate related to coronary heart disease decreased in the Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy, and the United States and Northern Europe came next, and they also decreased the risk of many diseases that result from the lifestyle.

Subsequent studies have revealed that the Mediterranean diet is linked to reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet may aid in weight loss, in addition to preventing stroke, type 2 diabetes and early death.

The Mediterranean diet was recognized by the World Health Organization as a sustainable diet, and UNESCO also recognized this diet on November 17, 2010 as the intangible cultural heritage of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that they be followed as a diet to promote health and prevent chronic disease.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

In fact, following a diet means following a diet of food and drink, regardless of the goal of it, whether that is to reduce weight or to avoid eating certain foods. Following a Mediterranean diet means eating the traditional way in which the people of the Mediterranean region eat their food, which mainly depends on a large portion of fresh products, whole grains and legumes, in addition to some fats, healthy fish, fruits and vegetables.

What are the foundations of the Mediterranean diet?

There is a set of scientific principles or guidelines that must be followed in case you decide to follow the Mediterranean diet, and they are:
  • Focus on eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  • Use healthy oils like olive oil instead of butter.
  • Replace salt with herbs and spices to add flavor to foods in cooking and food.
  • Reducing the consumption of red meat, which should not be consumed more than several times a month.
  • Eating poultry and fish at least twice a week.
  • Stay away from eating food alone or while watching TV, and instead eat it with family and friends.
  • Regular exercise.
We can conclude from the previous principles that the Mediterranean diet should be based on:
  1. Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower ...
  2. Fruits: grapes, figs, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, dates, watermelon, peaches ...
  3. Nuts and seeds: cashews, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds ...
  4. Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, peanuts ...
  5. Whole grains: whole wheat bread, whole oats, brown rice, barley, corn ...
  6. Fish and seafood: tuna, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, oysters ...
  7. Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey ...
  8. Eggs: chicken eggs, quail eggs, duck eggs.
  9. Dairy products: cheese, yogurt ...
  10. Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper ...
  11. Healthy fats: olives, olive oil, avocado and avocado oil.

Some tips if you want to rely on the Mediterranean diet:

The Mediterranean Diet is a healthy, balanced and comprehensive diet. Here are some tips about what is and is not allowed if you want to follow it as part of your daily routine:

  • Choose whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, freekeh, spelled, and pasta.
  • As a source of protein, choose low-fat milk, skim milk, and less cheese.
  • Eating meat twice a week based on fresh chicken and fish, and there is no objection to eating grilled fish.
  • Eat a few nuts every day, not exceeding a handful.
  • Eat five to seven portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, knowing that a portion equals a medium fruit, half a cup of vegetables or fruits, or a sliced ​​cup of leafy vegetables.
  • Choose healthy fats by using olive oil when cooking.
  • To get more dietary fiber, eat potatoes with the skin on.
  • Rely on healthy cooking methods and use spices and herbs.
  • Try to drink enough water.
  • Get regular exercise.
On the other hand:
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Avoid added sugar, such as candy, ice cream, soda, and more.
  • Stay away from unhealthy fats found in margarine or butter.
  • Avoid refined oils.
  • Use less salt when preparing or eating your food.
  • Stay away from nuts roasted with salt, honey, or with added chocolate.
  • Limit red meat.
  • Avoid eating refined grains, such as white bread, pasta made from refined wheat, etc.
Although there are some differences between the foods of the Mediterranean countries, most studies have found that the Mediterranean diet depends in general and mainly on high amounts of plant foods and relatively low amounts of animal foods.

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