A Look at the Mediterranean Diet

09Each day this week, I am going to take a different aspect of the Mediterranean Diet and give it a closer look.  I’m going to talk about things like what it is, is it possible to lose weight on a Mediterranean diet, the fat issue, and the history and science behind it.

The Mediterranean Diet is of course a diet that involves emulating the way that people eat in the Mediterranean. The diet became popular when it was found that people who ate a Mediterranean Diet actually lived longer and experienced a lower incidence of heart disease and other issues.

At first this surprised researchers – after all, the Mediterranean Diet mainly consists of eating fats (olive oil and cheese) and wine! These are things that were traditionally thought to be bad for us.

Upon further research, it happens that in moderation – and when combined with a nutrient rich diet – they can actually be beneficial.

So what exactly is this nutrient rich diet? How do you eat like a Mediterranean? What foods are on the menu? Let’s take a look…

Salads

One of the mainstays of a Mediterranean Diet is salad. Salad is highly nutritious and provides the body with lots of iron, calcium and other minerals. At the same time, it also adds fiber to a meal without adding many calories, making you feel fuller faster.

One of the very best salads out there for the Mediterranean Diet is Greek salad. This meal consists purely of chopped tomato, cucumber, pepper and feta cheese with a little olive oil drizzled on top!

Fish

Being near the warm Mediterranean means being near tons of fish. Fish is actually incredibly healthy, especially salmon.

The biggest benefit of eating a lot of fish is that it will provide plenty of essential fatty acids and amino acids without adding too many calories. Fish is lean, it’s great for the brain, it keeps you full and is an all-around excellent option.

Seeds and Nuts

On the Mediterranean Diet, a lot of dishes include seeds and nuts for flavoring (alongside lots of herbs). This is a great addition to any diet. Not only do they provide fiber, and protein, they also are packed with vitamins and minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, just to name a few. And because of their fiber content, seeds and nuts keep you feeling fuller longer as well. They make a great snack option that won’t pack on calories, and they add delicious flavor to any salad.

Fruits and Vegetables

Living in a sunny climate also facilitates lots of berries, grapes, tomatoes and root vegetables being ripe for the picking and for adding to the diet. This is a big cornerstone of a Mediterranean Diet and is one of the biggest ‘secrets’ when it comes to making sure that you enjoy a long, healthy lifespan without getting ill!

Fats

Finally, the Mediterranean Diet contains all of the healthy kinds of fats. That means saturated fats (not trans fats!) like those found in olives and olive oil. Healthy fats enhance nutrient absorption and improve cholesterol too.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about using the Mediterranean diet for possible weight loss.

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