Today we bring you everything you need to know about the Mediterranean diet, a high fat diet that is considered extremely healthy, and discuss the evidence based claims! A typical Mediterranean diet is similar to a typical Egyptian diet, believe it or not. It focuses on foods rich is unsaturated fats, as well as foods rich in nitrates.
Foods Rich in Unsaturated Fats
- Olive oil
Foods Rich in Nitrates
- Leafy greens (lettuce, celery, arugula, spinach)
What are The Benefits?
Consuming both unsaturated fats and nitrates together (e.g. by drizzling olive oil on your green leaf salad) results in a chemical reaction producing nitro fatty acids. These nitro fatty acids are thought to be responsible for the majority of the Mediterranean Diet’s health benefits, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower risk of prostate, breast, and gut cancers
- Lower risk of Alzheimer’s
- Slower progression of diabetes
- Slows down age-related bone loss
- Longer life
Mediterranean Diet Guidelines
The good news is, following the Mediterranean diet is probably easier than you thought, and you can reap the benefits by making just a few simple changes.
- High (Good) Fat Diet
4-6 servings of healthy fats per day are recommended. 1 serving = 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 5 olives, or 1/8 avocado.
Make olive oil, avocado oil, and flaxseed oil your main sources of fat while cooking.
- The More Fruit and Vegetables the Better
5-10 servings per day are recommended.
1 serving = ½ cup cooked fruit/vegetable OR 1 cup raw fruit/vegetable
- Focus on Plant Based Protein
Up your intake of hummus, lentils, foul, and raw, unsalted nuts.
- Switch Up Your Animal Protein
Aim to eat fish at least two times per week, while red meat should be limited to just once per week.
- Eat the Right Carbs
The Mediterranean diet does not advocate a low carbohydrate diet, rather it recommends focusing on wholegrain and less refined carbs such as brown rice, wholegrain bread, quinoa, oats, freekeh, and homemade popcorn.
- Goodbye Bland Food
Almost every spice and herb available has unique benefits to our bodies, especially when eaten regularly and combined together to make flavorful meals. Parsley helps boost your immune system, turmeric has antibacterial properties, and cinnamon can speed up your metabolism; just to name a few. The Mediterranean diet recommends adding herbs and spices to all your dishes.
- Make Some Lifestyle Changes
The Mediterranean diet is all about lifestyle change. Just as important as what you eat is how you eat. Mindful eating-savoring and enjoying your food-are central ideas to this change.
In conclusion, the Mediterranean diet is one that we are happy to follow and incorporate into our life, simply because it is all about lifestyle changes. Whether you make a complete transformation or incorporate only some of the guidelines above into your life, you will benefit from these healthy habits.