This post is a summary of my Mediterranean Diet Book.
For years, medical experts have observed and confirmed that residents of Mediterranean countries have much lower cases of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases than people in the United States and other European countries. After much observation and research, scientists have traced this phenomenon to their diet.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of the Meditteranean diet, how to switch to the Mediterranean diet step-by-step, and some delicious meals for the Mediterranean diet.
Download Your Mediterranean Diet Book
To get your own PDF copy of all the information in this post and more, download your Mediterranean diet book by clicking here. You will get some extra recipes too!
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
The general perception is that people that live in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea live longer than others, and they have less occurrence of cardiovascular ailments and cancer. The not-so-surprising secret about this is their lifestyle and diet that includes low saturated fat, sugar, red meat, a high intake of nuts, and other healthy meals.
It would be false to say that there is “one” Mediterranean diet since Italians eat differently from the French, who eat differently from Spanish and Greeks. However, their nutrient pattern and principle are very similar.
A true Mediterranean diet is based on traditional fruits, beans, dairy, seafood, nuts, and olive oil that are found in the region, combined with a glass of wine. This was the pattern of the feeding of Greeks and other Mediterranean countries that made their life expectancy rate one of the highest in the world, even with a limited supply of medical services.
As you’ve probably heard, the Mediterranean Diet offers a host of benefits, which include cancer prevention, diabetes control and prevention, weight loss, heart, and brain health. Implementing this Diet has the potential to help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body.
Mediterranean Diet List of Foods
We will talk more about how to switch to the Mediterranean diet later. For now, let’s just go over the foods you should consume and the foods you should avoid.
Eat in abundance
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil.
Added sugar like pop, candies, ice cream, table sugar, and many others.
Refined grains like white bread and pasta.
Transfats like margarine and refined oils (avoid vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, etc.)
Processed foods (all foods that include a list of suspect ingredients)
Mediterranean Diet Benefits
The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is very popular for its health benefits, which you will also find in my free PDF Mediterranean Diet Book.
Furthermore, a publication by the U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best diet in its top 41 diets. It ranked high on that list mainly because of its health benefits. What makes the Mediterranean Diet so effective? Let’s take a dive into that right away.
1. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
This is probably one of its most popular benefits. But it’s not just a rumor; there are actually scientific proofs backing that up.
One such piece of evidence is a randomized clinical trial known as the PREDIMED study that was published in 2013. The research studied 7,000 men and women that had a high risk for cardiovascular disease or Type-2 diabetes in Spain, and it showed that individuals that predominantly ate the Mediterranean diet have a 30% lower risk of having a heart event. This has been traced to the high quantity of omega-3s from olive oil, nuts, and seafood.
2. Boosts your cognitive function
The healthy fats that your body gets from the Mediterranean diet are good for the proper functioning of your brain. Research carried on 1,864 participants shows that individuals that follow a strict Mediterranean diet are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or have any sort of reduction in cognitive ability in old age. As a matter of fact, it is proven that there’s a direct correlation between high consumption of fish and a reduced chance of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Reduces anxiety and depression
Some medical experts use healthy fats and a diet rich in vegetables as a part of treatment for anxiety and depression.
The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in carotenoids, can increase the presence of good bacteria in your gut, which can elevate your mood.
A study also showed that adults that adhere strictly to the Mediterranean diet have a 33 percent lower risk of experiencing depression than those who don’t.
4. Stabilizes your blood sugar
Consuming plenty of healthy fats and avoiding processed carbohydrates, help ensure your blood sugar remains stable. Moreover, I would add that intermittent fasting will help avoid the insulin spikes that even whole grains could cause.
5. Reduces the risk of formation of cancer cells
Researchers took a look at combined studies on 2 million people; they discovered that the Mediterranean Diet could reduce the formation of cancer—especially gastric cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
6. Helps with weight management
The Mediterranean Diet helps keep you full longer because of its high amount of fiber and healthy fats. Replace the simple carbohydrates in your diet with beans, legumes, vegetables, and fibrous fruits. Drizzle your large salad with olive oil!
7. Improves bone health for post-menopausal women
A small but promising study has shown that the Mediterranean diet could keep the bones of post-menopausal women stronger as they grow older. Although many benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been reported, few studies have looked at its effects on body composition after menopause.
8. Good for your gut
Research seems to indicate that people who follow the Mediterranean Diet for a prolonged period have more good bacteria in their body than those who consume the western diet. Scientists have also discovered that eating plant-based foods such as legumes, fruits, and vegetables can increase good bacteria in your gut by 7%.
9. Increases longevity
As if those health benefits aren’t advantageous enough, a strict Mediterranean Diet is believed to make people live longer—this is due to the aforementioned improvement in cardiovascular and overall health.
How to Switch to the Mediterranean Diet
In this section, I am laying out simple steps you can follow to switch to the Mediterranean diet. Don’t forget, you can access all this info in my free Mediterranean Diet Book.
Step 1: Replace margarine with healthy fats like olive oil, nut butters, and seeds
Olive oil has a substantial amount of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. But if it’s getting somewhat boring, you can spice things up a little by adding balsamic vinegar to introduce quality extra virgin oil. You can dip bread into the mixture to enjoy its delicious taste.
This mixture can be transformed into a salad dressing by adding a sweetener like honey. You can also use nut butter and seeds to increase the nutrition and the fat content of your meals.
Step 2: Consume more protein in the form of fish, seafood, and legumes
Consume more fish, seafood, and legumes. Other sources of protein include nuts, beans, legumes, and other plants. You don’t have to make a sudden change in diet; you can transition gradually by making small changes daily/weekly.
Typically, it is recommended to limit red meat. However, it’s fine to consume red meat occasionally, you don’t need to be militant about it.
Step 3: Go for vegetables
Have a goal to eat a minimum of three to eight servings of vegetables daily. Make efforts to consume different types of vegetables as that’ll help you get essential nutrients that might be absent in one. Vegetables have a high concentration of antioxidants, which prevents the formation of free radicals. Eat lots of salads, steamed vegetables, and roasted vegetables!
4. Choose whole-grains over processed bread products
Grains have a high amount of fiber and can keep your stomach full for a more prolonged period. However, if you haven’t been fasting, limit grain intake as much as possible and fill up on vegetables. Have you seen my Intermittent Fasting 101 Workshop? It’s the key to greater food freedom.
5. Consume more nuts
Nuts have a high amount of phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins that are very beneficial to your health. Furthermore, nuts contain unsaturated fats that are known to be effective in preventing heart diseases.
Nutritionists recommend that an average person should consume a handful of nuts daily. They are best eaten in their natural forms, and you should stay away from sugar-coated or chocolate-coated ones.
6. Snack on fruit and veggies
Again, unless you have been intermittent fasting, I would like to advise you against snacking. However, if you are going to snack, it’s healthier to eat fruits and veggies over processed snacks as snacks gradually build harmful toxins in your body and are highly addictive.
Fruits and veggies are an essential source of minerals and vitamins, and they have a high concentration of fiber. They also have varieties of health-boosting flavonoids and antioxidants.
7. Use spices and fresh herbs
Experiment with various spices and fresh herbs that will give your dishes a unique blend of aromas and introduce a delicious taste to your food. You only need a small amount to make your food tastier and healthier. Moreover, fresh herbs are among the most nutrient-dense foods.
Have you heard of ANDI Scores?
This scoring system rates foods on a scale of 1 to 1,000 based on nutrient content per calorie. Now, you may enjoy checking out his rankings on the most common foods.
Four food categories are most noteworthy: Vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs, and fruits. It turns out that fresh herbs are off the chart. I particularly love using fresh basil, cilantro, parsley.
Meals for the Mediterranean Diet
Looking for some great traditional Mediterranean food to try? This section has a host of very tasty meals that’ll make you a foodie in no time. Plus, don’t forget to download the Mediterranean diet book for more ideas! These meals for the Mediterranean Diet are a delicious way to get started.
1. Horiátiki Salata (Authentic Greek Salad)
A bite at this delicious meal, and you’ll ask yourself, ‘’what have I been eating?” Mix feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, olives with extra virgin olive oil. Mediterranean tomatoes have plenty of juice, and the oil, feta, oregano, onion, and tomato juice would make a tasty mixture. Original Greek feta tastes nothing like regular feta—the taste here is divine. Traditional Greek feta is made with at least 70% sheep’s milk, with goat’s milk often making up the other 30%. The flavor is salty and tangy, the texture dry and crumbly. Check out this traditional greek salad recipe.
2. Potato Omelet—Spain (Tortilla Espanola)
This is a simple Mediterranean meal with few ingredients. But what could be better than a mixture of mashed potatoes and onions that is fried with a high quantity of olive oil and egg? It is then spiced with pepper and salt. It is definitely a culinary dish try—what a rustic delicacy! Try this recipe or this one.
3. Baked Vegetables in Olive Oil (Briam)
Briam is a masterpiece for any diet watcher who wants tasty vegetables. It is made by baking an assortment of fresh vegetables in olive oil and herbs. You can throw in an optional feta cheese to make it tastier. Check out this tasty example.