The Mediterranean diet has gained a lot of attention in the past year. It has been ranked as one of the best diets of 2020. This is not just a diet but a healthy eating pattern that can offer multiple health benefits.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Spain, Greece, and Italy.
There is no certain diet plan for the Mediterranean diet. It focuses on the consumption of whole foods mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, olive oil, herbs and whole grains. Healthy fats and some amount of dairy is also a part of this diet plan. Added sugar, refined grains, highly processed grain and refined oils are avoided. This diet offers a variety of nutrients.
The real Mediterranean diet is about more than just eating fresh, wholesome food. Daily physical activity and sharing meals with others are vital elements. Together, they can have a profound effect on your mood and mental health and help you foster a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods.
Nitika Batra, a Delhi-based nutritionist says, "The Mediterranean diet is a very traditional eating concept (not diet) that focuses on eating healthy carbs in the form of unprocessed, organic whole grain, fruits and vegetables. This diet is helpful for those who want to strengthen their cardiovascular health. It can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels too.
What to eat- "It is an eating concept that focuses on foods groups. We need to focus on eating seasonal foods with two servings of fruits and 4-5 servings of seasonal vegetables. Indian alternates may include peanut oil, mustard oil, cow ghee, chakki fresh aata, dalia, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and seasonal and local veggies," She added.
How to make your diet Mediterranean:
1. Eating plenty of whole wheat products such as oats, barley, bread and pasta
2. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables
3. Including fish in your diet and eating less meat
4. Choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil.
Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet:
It aims for a diet that is rich in natural foods, including plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet offers many health benefits. Some of them are-
Promotes Weight Loss
The Mediterranean diet helps in weight loss as it controls the consumption of high-calorie processed foods and sugar. Ensuring the consumption of enough fruits and vegetables also help ensure optimum nutrient intake.
Boosts heart health
As mentioned earlier, this diet can help you boost heart health. It helps in controlling various risk factors for heart disease including bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Help reduce type-2 diabetes risk
According to the website Healthline, following a Mediterranean diet can help in controlling your diabetes risk as well as regulating blood sugars. If you are a diabetic, you can seek help from an expert to know how to follow the Mediterranean diet to control blood sugars
By reducing your risk of developing heart disease or cancer with the Mediterranean diet, you're reducing your risk of death at any age by 20%.
Reducing the risk of Alzheimer's
The Mediterranean diet may improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and overall blood vessel health, which in turn may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Following a Mediterranean diet involves making long-term, sustainable dietary changes for overall wellness. Moreover, if you feel that your diet is not satisfying enough, you can consult a nutritionist for alternative foods to help increase satiety.