What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is based on eating dishes popular in countries like Italy, Spain, and Greece. These countries all border the Mediterranean Sea, and this is where the diet gets its name. The Med diet also supports heart health and brain function, which may lead to a longer life.
The Mediterranean is not as strict about what foods you can consume as other diets, like the keto diet.
Fruits and vegetables are a large part of the Mediterranean diet. Some vegetables that are part of a Mediterranean diet include tomatoes, onions, broccoli, carrots, and lettuce. Fruits include grapes, oranges, apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and figs. This list is only a short sample of the fruits and vegetables that should be eaten by someone practicing the Mediterranean diet.
Seafood, Meat, and Cheeses
Seafood is a significant part of the Mediterranean diet also. Fish like tuna, salmon, and trout are high in heart-healthy fats known as Omega-3. Consuming heart and brain-healthy fats are staples of both the Mediterranean and Keto-diet. Other seafood that needs to be consumed is shrimp, oysters, lobster, and mussels. Although these do not contain high amounts of heart-healthy fats, they are high in lean protein.
Along with seafood, include turkey and chicken into your diet. The fish, seafood, chicken, or turkey should be baked, grilled, roasted, or sautéed. Do not deep fry any of your food.
Lean cuts of meat like beef and ham are ok also in moderation.
Whole wheat, oats, and barley should also be included. Use whole-wheat pasta and whole wheat bread in your cooking. Whole wheat bread is more nutritious than white bread.
Cheese and yogurt should be part of the diet. Feta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese are a few examples. Cheese with fresh fruit makes an excellent snack.
Breakfast for the Mediterranean diet should include yogurt, oatmeal, and fresh fruit. Also, hard-boiled eggs or a vegetable omelet can be included on your breakfast menu. Do not eat processed breakfast sausages or cereals that contain lots of sugar.
Use olive oil, Extra Virgin is best, when cooking or making salad dressing.
Spices that are staples of Mediterranean-style cooking are garlic, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, and Rosemary.
Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Mediterranean diet recipes should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and fish high in heart-healthy fats. Sautéing in olive oil will add healthy fats to seafood that is high in protein but otherwise lack healthy fat. Watch this video on sautéing shrimp in olive oil and minced garlic with basil. Crushed red pepper can be added to the recipe also. A side of fresh grapes, apples, or strawberries makes this a perfect Mediterranean diet-friendly dish.
Whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce makes a great meal that is quick and easy to prepare. Also, add some grated Parmesan cheese to the spaghetti and a fresh salad for a side.
A person’s diet is what they consume daily. Being on a Mediterranean or Keto diet is about what foods are consumed every day and how much of it you consume. The Keto Diet means consuming mostly healthy fats, moderate protein, and few carbs. In the state of ketosis, your body will be burning fat and protein for energy, not carbs.
Make our steamed mussels recipe in white wine and minced garlic.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
On either of these diets, you want to avoid processed foods and foods that contain high amounts of sugar. Avoid fast food, deep-fried food, and sliced meat from the delicatessen. Also, potato chips, white bread, and saltine crackers should not be consumed since they contain refined grains.
Though Extra Virgin or regular olive oil is great, do not use canola oil, vegetable oil, or cottonseed oil. However, don’t use margarine since it is high in trans fat like a lot deep fried food.
Drink Lots of Water
Also, water is the staple drink on the Mediterranean Diet as it hydrates your body and does not contain any calories. However, the occasional glass of red wine is ok on the Mediterranean diet. Wine comes from grapes, and grapes are thought to be heart-healthy.
Learn how to sauté shrimp and what are carbohydrates in food.