Mediterranean Diet | A simple guide for beginner

The first and second deadliest diseases in the world are heart diseases and cancer. Following these patients' lifestyles and eating habits shows that diet has an enormous effect on people's lives. Mediterranean Diet has been successful and was ranked the best diet of 2018, 2019, and 2020. As its name implies, the Mediterranean Diet is the typical eating habits and food pattern of people living near the Mediterranean Sea, countries such as Italy, Spain, and Greece in the early 1960s. The Mediterranean Diet can also prevent heart diseases, strokes, type2diabetes, and Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. Mediterranean diet is a heart healthy diet due to consuming healthy foods, and basically, this is a plan for a lifestyle more than a diet.

What is Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean Diet is characterized as a pattern of food consumption. There is more than one Mediterranean diet, and they refer to the food culture of the populations in the Mediterranean area.
The origins go back to ancient Greek and Roman history. The first explanation of the traditional Mediterranean diet was followed in the mid-twentieth century in a research study in 1953 that showed the heavy use of olive oil, lots of vegetables, lots of whole grains, fruits, unprocessed foods, and healthy fats and fishes. There is no calorie counting in the Mediterranean Diet, and this makes the diet easier. The foods involving this diet are all fresh; frozen and fast foods have no place in the Mediterranean diet (anyway, you can enjoy pizza). If you follow the Mediterranean diet correctly, you can continue enjoying eating a lot and also staying healthy and sustaining or lowering your weight.

Health benefits of a Mediterranean diet

As mentioned, the Mediterranean diet has many effects on increasing your health and preventing and treating some diseases. Among the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are below:


Mediterranean Diet and Heart Disease

Mediterranean Diet is associated with a lowered risk of heart attacks and strokes, especially in men. High levels of omega3, low LDL cholesterol, and a high level of HDL cholesterol in food intake can protect against heart diseases.

Click here to see a healthy diet for heart diseases.


Is Mediterranean Diet suitable for weight loss?

This is not mentioned that the Mediterranean diet is a weight loss diet, but if you follow the diet accurately, based on the diet meal plan and how you start the program and your adherence to the program, you can lose weight as you want. Dedicating a large portion of the pyramid (the lowest part) to physical activity is another sign of the ability to lose weight by purifying this dream. Also, some studies showed that close adherence to the Mediterranean diet is related to lower BMI.


Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes

Due to its flexibility and incorporation into many high-fibre foods, The Mediterranean diet is easy to follow. It helps to regulate the level of blood sugar in diabetic patients. The fibre digestion occurs at a slow space and controls the number of carbohydrate intakes to the body and will adjust the rise of blood sugar after each meal. The existence of a lot of whole grains, foods, and vegetables as carbohydrates can make some challenges for diabetic persons, so they should monitor and control the intake of these foods and consult with a nutritionist about them.
However, the most important thing in a diabetic diet is carbohydrates counting, which should be done in any diet.


Mediterranean Diet and Parkinson Disease

There isn't a specific diet for Parkinson's Disease, but constipation and low blood pressure are complications of this disease, and your diet can treat them. Also, interactions between medications such as levodopa and food intake, especially proteins, should be considered. This peal should not be eaten 30 to 60 minutes before and after the meal. Another interaction of drug and food is related to Dopamine Agonists and its side effects that your doctor suggests swallowing the drug with food to prevent nausea. The Mediterranean diet is based on many vegetables and fruits, and that provides a lot of fibre. The central pyramid of this diet is based on exercises and activities like walking, so the constipation symptom of Parkinson can be controlled and eased. As the Mediterranean diet lowers the LDL cholesterol and antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects delay Parkinson's.

Disadvantages of Mediterranean diet

People who want to make a major change in the dietary plan should consult with their physician at the beginning. Many interactions between drugs and foods should be observed to prevent the probable side effects. For example, MAOIs drugs taking for depression treatment interact with tyramine that can be found in aged red wines and aged cheese. People who want to lose weight during the Mediterranean Diet should observe and monitor the portion size of oils, cheese, and yogurt, which are high in calories.
Olive oil is a massive part of the Mediterranean diet, and it should be Prepared and purchased from reliable stores. Sometimes the oil can be contaminated by mycotoxin (a toxin produced by fungi and moulds). Some of them do not have any effect on human bodies. Still, some toxins are potent carcinogens and cause cancer. When buying olive oil, you must pay attention to that it is made in a completely hygienic way.
One of the important issues that may be forgotten is exercise and activities. Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle more than a diet. According to the Mediterranean lifestyle, being active is needed to follow the diet.
Mediterranean diet insists on cooking and taking fresh foods, so it may be hard to prepare.
Alcohol intake is not suitable for everyone, so it should be consumed sensibly.
Less meat and dairy fat in Mediterranean Diet may lead to deficiencies such as Vitamin D and Calcium, so there must be another way to retrieve the lack of nutrients.

Mediterranean Diet meal plan

In the Mediterranean diet, your lifestyle should change, and you should eat a series of foods in your diet daily; below is a list of foods that you should eat daily:

♦ Olive oil
, due to its high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants it is a brilliant choice for use daily in the Mediterranean Diet; consuming this oil in moderation helps to reduce the calorie intake and increased intake of healthy compounds (instead of using saturated and trans fats like butter)
♦ Beans, nuts, and legumes
are a high protein and fibre source that lowers the blood cholesterol levels by five percent or more. Most nuts contain MUFA, and a few nuts are a good choice for snacks. 30g nuts are recommended for every day in your diet.
♦ Whole grains
such as slices of bread, pasta, rice, and couscous, which are made with whole grains, are good sources of fibre, Vitamin Bs, and minerals. You can use daily of them in Mediterranean Diet.
♦ low-fat varieties of cheese and yogurt are good sources of calcium.
♦ You should eat at least one serving of fruits at every meal instead of junk snacks.
♦ Vegetables, 
choosing a variety of colours at least a serving at every meal. for example, you can start with carrot sticks as a snack
♦ Drink 6 – 8 glasses of water during the day.
♦ Red Wine
a small portion in moderation (no more than five-ounce glass for women and up to 2 glasses (10 ounces) for men). Wine contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants and also have a relaxing effect on blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure.

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DON'T FORGOT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
At least 30 minutes of exercise, especially specialty aerobic exercise, is recommended in the Mediterranean diet.


Which foods should be consumed weekly in Mediterranean Diet?

Some foods should be used less frequently in the Mediterranean diet. Foods that should not be eaten daily and should be eaten weekly include the following list:
Fish
: a few times a week at least two portions such as Salmon and Mackerel
Poultry
: a few times a week without skin, lean, and low-fat ones
Eggs
: less than 4 per week


Eat these foods monthly in Mediterranean Diet

Some foods should be used infrequently in this Mediterranean Diet; these foods include red meats or sweets. You should eat red meat a maximum of 2-3 times a month and eat sweets and sugars infrequently and a maximum of once a month.


Foods to avoid in the Mediterranean diet

Some foods are forbidden in the Mediterranean diet and should not be eaten. If you want to get a Mediterranean diet, you should be careful not to eat the following foods:

♦ Refined grains white bread, white rice, pasta made with white flour
♦ Trans fats in margarine and saturated fats in most animal sources fats, high-fat meats, butter, and cream
♦ Sugary foods and sweets, candies, industrial sugar added beverages
♦ Processed meats such as cut colds hot dogs and sausages
♦ Processed foods containing a lot of sodium
♦ Fried foods (replace them with steamed and boiled cooked foods)

Mediterranean Diet shop list

If you want to start a healthy Mediterranean diet plan, you should dress up your shopping list with the items below:


Herbs and Spices

♦ Basil
♦ Cilantro
♦ Bay
♦ Leaves
♦ Mint
♦ Parsley
♦ Oregano
♦ Aleppo
♦ Pepper
♦ Allspice
♦ Cumin
♦ Coriander
♦ Paprika
♦ Harissa
♦ Sumac
♦ Turmeric
♦ etc.

Vegetables

♦ Onion/spring onions
♦ Garlic
♦ Leafy greens
♦ Any kind of tomato
♦ Asparagus
♦ Artichokes
♦ Beets
♦ Broccoli
♦ Carrots
♦ Green beans
♦ Kale
♦ Cabbage
♦ Peas
♦ Olives
♦ Mushrooms
♦ Eggplant
♦ Squash
♦ etc.

Fruits

♦ Lemons(Regularly)
♦ Apples
♦ Avocados
♦ Apricots
♦ Bananas
♦ Berries
♦ Cherries
♦ Dates
♦ Figs
♦ Grapes
♦ Melons
♦ Oranges
♦ Plums
♦ Pomegranates
♦ Peaches
♦ etc.


Grains

♦ Barely
♦ Bread (Loaf, Pita)
♦ Bulgur
♦ Couscous
♦ Oatmeal
♦ Pasta
♦ Polenta
♦ Quinoa
♦ Rice
♦ Rye
♦ Buckwheat
♦ Corn
♦ etc.

Legumes and Beans

(Rinse and drain before using)
♦ Black Beans
♦ White Beans
♦ Chickpeas
♦Hummus
♦ Kidney Beans
♦ Lentils
♦ Pinto Beans
♦ etc. 

Healthy oils and fats

♦ Extra virgin olive oil
♦ Avocado oil
♦ Grape seed oil
♦ Ghee
♦ Canola oil


Nuts and seed

♦ Almonds
♦ Cashews
♦ Flaxseed
♦ Peanuts
♦ Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
♦ Sunflower Seeds
♦ Walnuts

Fish and Seafood

♦ Whitefish
♦ Oily fish like Salmon
♦ Trout
♦ Tuna
♦ Oysters
♦ Clam
♦ Shellfish such as crab, shrimp, lobster

Dairy/Meats/Eggs

♦ Variety of cheese in moderation
♦ Low-fat milk
♦ Yogurt and Greek Yogurt
♦ Organic eggs
♦ Poultry like chicken duck turkey
♦ Lamb
♦ Lean beef Pork

Is Mediterranean Diet better than the Keto diet?

Keto is the trendy diet with many low carbs and ultra-high fat and limits a lot of healthy foods. In the Mediterranean Diet, we have lots of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits that they are eliminated in the keto diet. Everything we need to stay strong and healthy is available in Mediterranean Diet and near grocery stores. So I think a Mediterranean diet is better than a ketogenic one.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments.