Essentially, the Mediterranean diet is a type of eating pattern that is derived from the traditional cuisine of countries in the Mediterranean region, such as Greece and Italy. The Mediterranean diet is high in vitamins and minerals but low in saturated fats and red meat. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil characterize it. According to numerous studies, the followers are less likely to develop diseases like heart disease, strokes, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. Last but not least, this type of diet is beneficial for those who want to maintain a healthy weight.
Within this guide, you will learn what types of foods are recommended to eat.
Mediterranean diet food list
1. Fish and seafood
A large portion of the diet is made up of fish and seafood, which is what makes it so healthy. The fat content of fish and seafood is low in unhealthy fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous benefits for health, from lowering blood pressure to reducing the risk of heart disease.
And we should remember that fish and seafood are also high in protein which nutrient is the building block of muscle and helps with metabolism. A faster metabolism means more calories burned, and with that, we can lose weight!
Lastly, dishes made from fish are easy to make and delicious.
If you are trying to follow a Mediterranean diet, salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, anchovies, and sardines are some of the best fish to eat. But you can also try other seafood, such as shrimp, crab, and clams. Everything depends on your taste and budget.
The Mediterranean diet is healthy and flavorful, thanks to its many vegetables. You can enjoy a variety of vegetables, including some of the more popular ones like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, as well as some that are less well known, such as fennel and artichoke. These greens are an excellent way to get essential nutrients while keeping your calorie intake low. And, since we can choose from a wide range of veggies, we can have a diverse menu. Good news for those who don't like greens so much.
The fiber in these foods makes you feel satiated for a more prolonged amount of time. This means you'll eat less overall because you won't feel famished in between meals. By doing this, you will avoid snacks and lose weight in the process. Furthermore, the fiber present in these vegetables aids in cleansing your intestines, promoting a healthier gut as a result. A healthy gut helps the immune system to function better so that it can fight disease.
Due to its highly customizable nature, the Mediterranean diet offers a wide range of fruits to choose from. The typical Mediterranean diet includes fruits like cherries, plums, grapes, peaches, citrus, berries, and so on. You can eat any fruit you want, provided it is fresh and not overly processed.
Aside from being tasty, these fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You can consume these fruits raw or add them to salads or other meals. One of the benefits of fruit is that they are already sweet, so you don't need to add any extra sugar to your diet. I prefer to eat them whole because that way, I get the most nutrients out of them. However, I occasionally add them to smoothies, mix them into yogurt, or even make some delicious jam.
4. Nuts and seeds
Staples in the Mediterranean diet include different kinds of seeds and nuts, for example, you can consume almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts, but all sorts of nuts are allowed.
Nuts are rich in fiber, protein, a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. That means they support your health in several ways. Nuts and seeds help reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, reduce cardiovascular disease risk, and protect your body against several types of cancer.
You can have nuts or seeds as a snack between the main meals or add them to your salads or even to your breakfast cereal. Remember that they are high in calories, so you don't want to eat them in large quantities if you aim to lose weight. Avoid nuts that are dipped in sugar, these sweets are typical in the Mediterranean region, but obviously, they shouldn't be a part of your diet.
The importance of legumes in the Mediterranean diet cannot be understated – they are included as a key part of meals.
Legumes are a good source of nutrients like fiber and protein and are low in fat. They also contain vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium. Lentils are also a good substitute for meat if you are a vegetarian.
Beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas are among the many types of legumes you can eat if you follow this diet. There are different ways to prepare legumes. For example, you can steam, roast, boil, or mash them. You can serve these as a side dish or add them to soups and stews. Dips and salads can also be prepared with them. Legumes make for a great addition to any meal and are highly versatile.
6. Whole grains
The Mediterranean diet cannot be complete without whole grains. Unrefined whole grains contain the entire kernel of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. This way the fiber and other nutrients are preserved. When grains are processed, the healthy components of the grain are removed, and with that, it becomes less nutritious.
Whole grains are rich in fiber, B vitamins, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. The nutrients in whole grains lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers. Whole grains also support healthy digestion leading healthy gut. A healthy gut is important to maintain a healthy weight and also reduce the risk of many diseases. Furthermore, they are low glycemic, so they don't cause blood sugar levels to spike.
A traditional Mediterranean diet consists of grains, including barley, bulgur, buckwheat, farro, millet, oats, polenta, rice, wheatberries, bread, couscous, and pasta.
Protein, iron, and zinc are all essential nutrients found in meat. However, not all meat is created equal. In comparison to factory-farmed meat, pasture-raised meat is healthier. Meat from pasture-raised animals contains less fat and more nutrients than meat from factory-farmed animals. In addition, pasture-raised meat is free of hormones and antibiotics. And last but not least, these natural meats are far more delicious than factory-farmed meat. A local grocery store or farmers' market will typically offer these meats.
Lean pork, chicken, lamb, or beef that has been pasture-raised are good choices when adding meat to Mediterranean recipes. It is crucial to choose low-fat meat if you want to lose weight.
Boiling is the healthiest way to prepare meat dishes since we don't need to use any fat. If you want to fry the meat, just use a little olive oil.
8. Cheese and other dairies
Dairy is an important component of the Mediterranean diet. Calcium, vitamin D, and protein are excellent nutrients found in dairy products.
The typical Meditterian dairy products include cheese like mozzarella, cottage cheese, milk, and yogurt. Dairy products are versatile and can be added to various dishes, or we can eat them as snacks.
Keep in mind that dairy products are high in calories, so if you aim to lose weight, eat dairy in moderation.
9. Olive oil
Mediterranean diets are associated with reduced heart disease and chronic illness risk because olive oil is a key ingredient. Monounsaturated fatty acids are high in olive oil, which is thought to promote heart health. Additionally, olive oil's antioxidant content may hinder cell damage. Additionally, it contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
You can use olive oil in several ways, such as for frying, cooking, and salad dressing. Since we are talking about oil, it is still high in calories so moderation is key.
Are there foods that are not allowed in the Mediterranean diet?
Foods that are prohibited include processed red meat, heavily processed foods, refined grains, and refined, processed, or hydrogenated oils.
Is peanut butter OK on the Mediterranean diet?
Peanuts and peanut butter fit naturally into the eating plan because they are plant-based protein and fat sources high in excellent and unsaturated fats.
Can you eat potatoes on the Mediterranean diet?
You shouldn't exclude potatoes. On this diet, potatoes aren't viewed as "bad carbs." In fact, they're a good source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and more. Eat white potatoes and sweet potatoes in moderation.
To sum up
Losing weight and eating healthfully is easy with the Mediterranean diet. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil are the best foods on the Mediterranean diet. All of these foods contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In addition, they contain few calories and unhealthy fats. Mediterranean diets are good for losing weight and reducing your risk of heart disease.