One of the most studied (and practical) diets out there is the Mediterranean diet. It is primarily because the diet focuses on the health of both heart and brain and is an ultra-healthy way of eating. It won’t be wrong to say it is not just a “diet”; it is a healthy lifestyle that comes with quite a lot of benefits.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
In the 1950s, the scientists were hell-bent on finding out the secret of one thing; why the wealthy Americans were less healthy than poor populations in southern Italy. Hence, they started working on an extensive study of seven countries. There were comparison rates of stroke and heart disease with food and lifestyle factors in this decades-long project. As a result of it, the scientists were able to identify a key factor and guess what it was? Well, it was the diet. As the traditional foods of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea comprise fish, seafood, heart-healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, it is considered more than a diet – it is a healthy lifestyle.
Getting Started with the Mediterranean Diet
To start things off, you should know that the word \”diet\” here doesn’t mean that there’s a strict list of approved and banned foods. All you need to keep in mind that this diet is surprisingly simple and it actually doesn’t feel like a diet at all.
Traditionally, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t include processed foods. It is best that you should buy whole foods and make sure to check the ingredients list if it comes in a package. Vegetables should be an integral part of your meal. Whole foods comprise vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, and fish.
Vegetables and Fruits
As the Mediterranean diet focuses a lot on fruits and vegetables, they should make up bulk of each meal. In fact, the diet even emphasizes on 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Research has shown that 3 to 5 servings can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. You can eat different fruits and vegetables, such as berries, bananas, apples, pears, oranges, grapes, apricots, avocados, dates, figs, tomatoes, potatoes, greens (spinach, arugula, kale, collards), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beets, pepper, peas, onions, artichokes, etc.
In this diet, fish is eaten a lot and the more you eat fatty fish such as herring, salmon, sardine, mackerel, the better. It is because they are the primary sources of protein in the Mediterranean diet and they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help a lot in improving cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.
Animal Protein and Dairy
In the Mediterranean diet, there is no strict restriction on consuming animal protein and dairy. However, red and processed meats are usually eaten in smaller amounts. You can enjoy eating turkey, chicken, eggs, and yogurt daily or weekly but in moderate portions.
Olive Oil for Cooking (Fats)
The primary source of fat in this diet is olive oil. It is because the type of fat is given more importance than the ‘total fat’ and the diet focuses a lot on unsaturated fat. Instead of using butter, use olive oil (preferably virgin or extra-virgin) for cooking your food. It is tasty and also helps improve heart health.
Beans Legumes and Nuts
There is fat in nuts, but there is no need to be scared of it. It is because there is poly- and monounsaturated fats in the nuts, and these are healthy fats. Take a quarter-cup of nuts between lunch and dinner and enjoy it as your snack.
Skip the Sugar
You might’ve seen it coming, right? Well, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t include refined flours, crackers, sugars, cookies, etc. You can indulge yourself with cookies or ice cream on special occasions, but try to eat in moderation.
Why Go For Mediterranean Diet?
- It does not specifically help in weight loss, but excluding processed foods, red meats, and animals fats from your meals could be really helpful in weight loss
- A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who follow the diet have a lower risk of stroke, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes
- It helps in improving the mood and lowers the risk of developing depression
- The diet focuses on herbs and spices over salt and hence reduces the risk of blood pressure complications
- There is a lot of room to be flexible, and the diet makes everything seem interesting
- You can also drink wine with this diet
Best Mediterranean Diet Meal Kits Services
If you are interested in opting for the Mediterranean diet for a healthy lifestyle and don’t know how to start it, here are two of the best meal kits services providers:
Sun Basket is considered among the best meal kit delivery services and they know how to satisfy their customers with their specific needs of the Mediterranean diet. They offer Mediterranean Plan within their classic plan. It means that there are 18 different meal choices for every week. The Mediterranean plan offered by Sun Basket comprises 3 meals per week for 2 or 4 adults. They offer many Mediterranean meal options, such as Spicy Greek shrimp with tomatoes, feta, and orzo, Orzo bowls with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and pistou, etc.
As a USDA certified meal kit service, Green Chef has made a name for itself by offering meals that focus on healthy eating. That’s why they offer plenty of Mediterranean-diet friendly choices to its customers. For instance, there are meal options such as Shrimps fried rice with Broccoli, edamame, carrots, scrambled egg & sesame seeds or Meditteranean salmon with roasted grape tomatoes & thyme, couscous, feta cheese. Overall, Green Chef is a suitable choice if you want to go with Mediterranean diet.