Choosing the right diet is a real challenge. Quite often you hear about controversial diets – be it the amount of calories consumed, the menu, or other aspects. One of the most popular diets that is increasingly appearing in the dietetic catalog is the Mediterranean diet.
However, to understand what the Mediterranean diet is, for whom it is intended and what principles we must follow, so that its provisions will help us improve our health, it is worth getting acquainted with the detailed description of this nutritional plan.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
As the name suggests, it is a diet that uses products readily available in the Mediterranean areas, i.e. in Spain, Italy or Greece. Of course, due to the different areas of Mediterranean cuisine, her diet may also differ in terms of specific meals or products. However, what connects any diet based on Mediterranean cuisine is certainly a passion for fruit, vegetables and cereal seeds.
Additionally, remember that the Mediterranean diet also includes dark bread or pastas, and even a glass of red wine. Due to the variety of products in this diet and many different varieties of cuisine on which the menus are based, it is worth remembering that individual nutritionists may offer differently formulated plans. The Mediterranean diet is not only a diet, but also a way of life that can often be found in warmer areas near the Mediterranean Sea.
Mediterranean diet – properties
One of the main reasons why the Mediterranean diet is becoming more popular is its anti-cancer effect. This is due to the presence of a large amount of vitamins C and E and beta carotene. In addition, the described diet is rich in selenium, which is characterized by a strong antioxidant effect.
When it comes to the properties of the Mediterranean diet, it is impossible not to mention its very good influence on the functioning of our digestive system. A lot of fiber supports digestive processes, binds excess bile acids, which also reduces the concentration of bad cholesterol in the blood and supports the work of the liver. In addition, it inhibits the action of short-chain fatty acids.
Of course, it should be remembered that the described nutritional program assumes accelerating the work of the stomach, which reduces the chance of developing diseases of the large intestine and reduces blood pressure and glucose concentration.
What is the Mediterranean diet? Rules
There are several dietary conditions that must be followed. First of all, remember not to eat highly processed things. This will of course include ready meals from supermarkets, fast food, fruit flakes (chocolate or honey) and any other food that contains thickeners and stabilizers or sweeteners.
Additionally, the consumption of red meat should be limited. This includes beef, mutton, horse meat, venison and venison. Poultry meat (chicken, turkey, quail) is allowed. However, the diet assumes reducing the consumption of red meat and replacing it with fish meat, the protein of which is very easily digestible by the human body, and in addition, fish meat is rich in fatty acids valuable for the body. In addition, we must not forget about amino acids, which play a very important role in the overall work of the body. The same is the case with vitamin D and minerals such as iodine, selenium or magnesium with calcium, which are also present in fish.
In addition to these principles of the Mediterranean diet, we should also remember that special emphasis is placed on the consumption of olive oil – so we are giving up other fats in favor of the one that is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Mediterranean diet – shopping list
Taking into account the above-mentioned principles, we have prepared a shopping list for the Mediterranean diet for you to show which products our daily meals should consist of.
- Flounder, cod, trout – as representatives of low-calorie fish;
- Tuna, herring, eel, salmon – fatty fish containing more calories;
- Peppers, cucumbers, lettuces, olives, cauliflower, broccoli – examples of vegetables that can be found in the diet;
- Bananas, watermelons, pears and all kinds of citrus – fruits that meet the requirements of the Mediterranean diet;
- Dark bread, pasta and groats – it is important, however, to avoid additions to groats in the form of fatty sauces colored with cream.
Additionally, we should know that the shopping list of the Mediterranean diet includes red wine (in moderate amounts with meals), herbs and natural spices, grain products and dairy products (yoghurt, cheese, eggs, poultry). Of course, we must not forget that there are more foods allowed in the Mediterranean diet.
Who is the Mediterranean diet suitable for?
When looking for the right diet, we should first answer the question of how the nutritional plan could help us. Is it about losing a few pounds? Is it meant to be a general health diet? Or maybe we are looking for help for an athlete? Each program is different and helps to improve different aspects of a person’s life. It is no different with the Mediterranean diet.
While the variety of products and the possibility of preparing many interesting meals will appeal to almost everyone, it is worth noting that it contains a small amount of meat. For this reason, it is an interesting solution for people who have health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or problems related to the circulatory system. However, if we are looking for a strength diet that should contain a large amount of protein, this method of eating may not meet our expectations, as supplementing the protein balance with eggs or cheese is not enough.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that the diet is easily digestible, because we will not find soups thickened with cream or fatty sauces. In addition, most dishes are steamed or simply cooked.
Mediterranean diet 2000 kcal – sample menu
The key to composing a diet is to understand that preparing a Mediterranean diet with 2,000 kcal will require us to ensure that each meal contains a balanced amount of macronutrients. This means that we cannot include too much carbohydrate, protein or fat in one meal. At the same time, we should remember to prepare more than 3 meals. For this reason, it is worth dividing the daily menu into breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and dinner.
- For breakfast, we recommend a slice of bread (dark bread, which should consist only of water and flour) with cottage cheese seasoned with fish (a kind of fish paste), and a tomato and an apple.
- Lunch should be a lighter meal than breakfast – we recommend yoghurt or skim milk.
- Fish or chicken breast will be a good choice for dinner . We cook vegetable soup with yoghurt and to improve the taste we can add a piece of chicken or turkey breast.
- Afternoon tea , just like lunch, should be a very light meal – we recommend a glass of tomato juice or fruit juice.
- For dinner, a good solution is to prepare a tuna salad or zucchini pancakes (prepared like potatoes, but without potatoes).
Finding the right diet is quite a challenge, especially if we have not decided to consult a dietitian or other specialist. If we want to improve the quality of life, and at the same time we would not want to limit ourselves to a small amount of permitted products, then the choice of the Mediterranean diet will be satisfactory. It is a very good solution for people who want to improve their health and for those who think about losing a few kilos.
Considering that the products included in this nutritional program lower blood glucose levels, the Mediterranean diet for diabetics is an equally attractive solution. However, before you decide to use it, we encourage you to consult your decision with a specialist, i.e. a dietitian, who will not only help you choose the right products tailored to your preferences, but also write a menu for a week and indicate what to watch out for and what you can eat without any problems.