Discover the 8 secrets of the Mediterranean diet and how to eat to reap the health benefits of this diet that is perhaps one of the healthiest in the world.
The Mediterranean diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil . It features fish and poultry – sources of lean protein – over red meat, which contains more saturated fat. The red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts.
Research suggests that the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern can be many: improved weight loss , better control of blood glucose ( sugar ) levels, and a lower risk of depression , to name a few. Eating like a Mediterranean has also been associated with reduced levels of inflammation , a risk factor for heart attack , stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease .
Replace butter and margarine with healthy oils as often as possible
Use olive oil – a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats – as your primary cooking fat. A high-quality extra virgin olive oil seasoned with balsamic vinegar is delicious for dipping bread and is a healthier alternative to butter (which is rich in the saturated fats associated with an increased risk of heart disease).
Swap your proteins
Swap most of the red meat and get your protein from skinless chicken and turkey, fish, beans, nuts and other plants. By displacing red meat, you will reduce your consumption of saturated fat. Start by making a few small changes. Try to eat fish of any kind, except for fried, of course, twice a week. Fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, are especially good options: they are rich in omega-3, a type of polyunsaturated fat, linked to improved heart health. Make whole grains and vegetables the focus of meals and think of meat for flavor. If you have a craving for a steak, which is fine to enjoy, just do it once in a while, choose a lean cut, and limit your serving size to 3 to 4 ounces. Always, invariably look for organic meats, free-range animals, free of hormones, antibiotics and other toxins.
Eat vegetables throughout the day
Most people do not eat enough vegetables. Try 3-8 servings of vegetables a day. A serving is 1/2 to 2 cups depending on the vegetable. Choose vegetables in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins. Start the day with a green juice with spinach and carrot juice; You can also try an omelet with spinach, have a bowl of vegetable soup for lunch or dinner, and consider some roasted carrots and a green salad for dinner. Large green salads are a great way to include several servings of vegetables at once, so enjoy one a day.
You can enjoy whole wheat bread, pasta, rice and other grains
Experiment with “real” whole grains that are still in their whole form and have not been refined. Quinoa , a grain that was a staple in the diet of the ancient Incas, cooks in just 20 minutes, making it a great side dish for weeknight meals. Barley is packed with fiber, pair it with mushrooms for a steaming, rich soup. A bowl of warm oatmeal is perfect for breakfast on a cold winter morning. Even popcorn is a whole grain – if you prefer something healthier make it with coconut oil, never microwave and forgo butter (try a drizzle of olive oil instead when done and a little sea salt ), they are the perfect popcorn.
Supplement your intake with other whole grain products, such as whole wheat pasta and bread . Look for the term “whole grain” on the food package and it should appear as the first ingredient in the ingredient list. But if it is still too hard to make the change from your old refined favorites, as the first phase make a mixture of whole grains with refined ones, so you get used to the new change that will only bring you benefits, remember that everything refined is called ” white poisons ”Because these foods lose all their nutrients when processed, and worse still, they are combined with toxic lighteners to achieve the white color.
You should pay attention to the fact that if you are not intolerant to gluten , you can enjoy the benefits of these foods, but if you are, you should substitute these grains for other gluten-free grains . In addition, as we mentioned in the meat section, and trying to be the most attached to health, always look for organic food, your body will thank you.
Nut, seed, and low-fat cheese bites instead of processed snacks
Snack on a handful of almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds instead of chips, cookies, or other processed snacks, which are often loaded with sugars, saturated fat, and trans fatty acids . Calcium-rich low-fat cheese, homemade yogurt , and plain plain nonfat with fresh fruit are other healthy and portable snacks.
Enjoy the fruit for dessert
Generally a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, fresh fruits are a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. If it helps you eat more, add a little agave or bee honey on top of the pear slices, or sprinkle some organic brown sugar on the grapefruit, but do not abuse, if possible always try to stop eating sugar in any presentation. Keep fresh fruit visible at home and take a piece or two with you to work so you already have a healthy snack when your stomach starts to growl.
If you drink, moderate your consumption to no more than a glass or two with a meal
Research indicates that people who drink moderately are less likely to have heart disease than those who abstain. Alcohol seems to promote “good” HDL cholesterol. Wine, in particular, “thins” the blood (making it less prone to clotting) and also contains antioxidants that prevent arteries from taking up LDL cholesterol, a process that can lead to plaque buildup. Remember, “1 drink” equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 2.11 ounces of liquor. Note: this option is only if you don’t have a problem with alcohol in any amount, be wise and only go for the foods that will really benefit your body.
Take enough time to savor each bite
Eating like a Mediterranean is as much a lifestyle as it is a diet. Instead of gobbling down your food in front of the television, slow down and sit at the table with your family and friends to enjoy what you’re eating. Not only will you enjoy their company and your food, eating slowly allows you to tune in to your body’s hunger and satiety signals.