What Is the Mediterranean Diet, and How Can It Benefit Me?


Cardiovascular diseases affect people in Mediterranean countries much less than it affects people in the U.S. When scientists noticed this, they discovered that the diet eaten by people in the Mediterranean region reduces the odds that cardiovascular diseases will develop. This diet is recommended by the World Health Organization and American doctors’ organizations. Read on to learn how to reap the health rewards of this diet for yourself.

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is based more on plants than on meats. Dairy products, poultry, seafood, and eggs are also allowed in moderate amounts. Many of the foods in this diet have heart-protective properties. Others simply lack the harmful properties of other common foods, such as red meat.

What Foods are Allowed on the Mediterranean Diet?

•   All fruits and vegetables are allowed. You should be eating several servings a day.

 •  Nuts are an essential part of the diet. You should have several servings a week.

•   Whole grains are also allowed. Eat whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereal.

•   Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most important parts of the diet. It converts harmful cholesterol into healthy cholesterol. Use it instead of butter or other cooking oils. Have at least a tablespoon of uncooked olive oil every day, for best results.

•   Seafood should be eaten twice a week.

•   Dairy products can be enjoyed in moderation. Plain yogurt and cheeses are good choices.

•   Use herbs and spices to make your food tastier, instead of frying them in fat.

•   One glass a day of red wine is good for your heart.

What Foods are Not Allowed on the Mediterranean Diet?

•   Red meat is OK to have once in a while, but should mostly be avoided.

•   Trans fats are never allowed; avoid margarine and most processed foods.

•   Refined oils, such as canola and soybean oils, are not allowed.

•   Anything with added sugar, like candy, soda, and pastries.

•   Refined grains, like in white bread, should be avoided.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Suggestions

All of the following meals are allowed on the Mediterranean diet.

Breakfast 1: Plain yogurt with berries served on or beside oatmeal.

Breakfast 2: Omelet with tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables. Half a cantelope or grapefruit.

Breakfast 3: Oatmeal with crushed nuts and raisins.

Breakfast 4: Whole grain cereal with yogurt.

Breakfast 5: Eggs fried in olive oil, yogurt with berries.

Breakfast 6: Olive omelet with a side of fruit.

Breakfast 7: Whole grain cereal with berries on top.

Lunch 1: Cheese and apple slices.

Lunch 2: Tuna salad.

Lunch 3: Cheese sandwich made with whole grain bread.

Lunch 4: Enselada caprese, made with mozerella, tomatoes, and basil leaves.

Lunch 5: Vegetable sandwich made with whole grain bread.

Lunch 6: Chicken salad.

Lunch 7: Potato salad.

Dinner 1: Grilled chicken with a vegetable side and fruit for dessert.

Dinner 2: Vegetarian lasagne.

Dinner 3: Broiled salmon and rice, with yogurt mixed with berries for dessert.

Dinner 4: Baked potatoes with cream cheese, salad, and fruit.

Dinner 5: Mediterranean pizza with a whole wheat crust.

Dinner 6: Chicken Marco Polo (made with broccoli and cheese).

Dinner 7: Grilled lamb and baked apple.

The Mediterranean diet is as delicious as it is healthy. Once people start eating this way, they soon lose all interest in junk foods.

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