Today, all over the world, we all are battling with Lifestyle Diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer, Heart Diseases and so on. Most of these conditions can be prevented by simple dietary management and one such program is the traditional Mediterranean Diet plan.
We are, what we are because of the food we eat. Why view food as calories and nutrients?. Savour them and celebrate life. With good food, the body has the ability to heal or cure by itself. A troubled body can have a huge impact on the mental, emotional, physical status and to the worst, it has a hand to crush the financial status of an individual too.
Therefore, for an individual to be healthy, wealthy and strong, the dietary practices have to be authored. When I say dietary practices, I mean practices followed traditionally in that particular geographical condition and location.
In The Article
Food is Medicine
Eating is a simple activity and one can’t understand the fuss about that. Most of the younger generation doesn’t know how to cook a traditional meal. Hitherto, Food is medicine. Food is Divine.
Today’s highly competitive and fast-paced lifestyle doesn’t give one a chance to explore cooking. One has to eat for survival (forget about fitness). With the easy availability of Ready-to-Eat food groups and processed food groups, one is literally inviting trouble for oneself. We need to reiterate certain lifestyle changes for a healthy life.
If a person has no time to prepare and eat traditional food, then he has to spend hours at the clinics and hospitals depending on the severity of the health condition. Processed foods, Ready-to-Eat, and unsafe foods have had a huge impact on the people around the globe. These foods are nothing but calorie dense, laden with preservatives, and are either high in sugar or salt. One cannot compromise health and for every condition, the solution is there in the simple food we eat.
Sound nutrition knowledge is needed to keep oneself aware of the consequences of bad eating. Traditional eating is one way of ensuring that we keep the disorders and diseases at bay.
What is Mediterranean Diet ?
There are so many diets that are region specific and one such is the Mediterranean style diet plan which is followed by the people living in the Mediterranean region like Italy, Greece, Lebanon etc.
All over the world, traditional diets have withstood the test of time and the world saw a huge increase in lifestyle diseases only in the recent decade when people deviated from their traditional foods and eating patterns.
A member of research studies has shown that people who followed the type of diet called traditional Mediterranean diet health plan have suffered only a minuscule fraction of lifestyle diseases compared to people who deviated from this diet.
Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet Plan
- Mediterranean Diet basically stresses on being physically acute and sharing meals with others.
- It focuses on fresh and real food. It is mostly plant-based and stresses the need to include lots of vegetables, legumes, and fruits for every meal.
- A lot of importance is given to the colour & texture of the food for the sake of breaking the monotony of eating the same food again and again.
- Two to three servings of fresh fruits are part of their every day And that includes natural & fresh fruit juices too.
- Vegetables and fruits are micronutrient dense and they bring in variations for the taste buds. The colours add variety and improve the overall eating experience.
Healthy Mediterranean Diet Shopping List
Like Salmon, Halibut, Sole, Mahi, Tilapia, Sardine & Material which are rich sources of PUFA and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids are traditionally taken thrice a work. Seafood as we all know and research studies have also proved the efficacy in preventing heart diseases and to keep the heart healthy.
Meat and poultry
You have to include meat and poultry once per week. Mediterranean foods have proved effective in healing not only the body but also protect against all kinds of cancers. Avoid eating red meat more than twice a month.
They Are nutrient dense too and are an excellent source of Iron, Potassium, Phenolic compounds and the non-nutrient fibre. Dried fruits again are linked to a lot of health benefits and the most important being the prevention of anaemia, diabetes and certain types of cancer too.
Like whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet, Black Rice, Ragi(Finger millet), Kamut, Teff, Corn, Muesli, Fufu are very much included in the Mediterranean diet. Basically, grains are rich sources of carbohydrates and are rich in fibre. The presence of fibre in the carbohydrates delays the absorption of glucose in the system and thereby plays a role in the prevention of not only diabetics but also certain types colon cancers.
Which are rich sources of protein and fibre are part of MD – one bean every day has wonderful benefits.We have plentiful like a black pea, chickpea, while pea, kidney beans, cannellini, split peas, lentils, etc. for choice as for the beans and Mediterranean Diet encourages the inclusion of one bean per day for health benefit.
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds are wonderful species of nuts. Just a handful of taking seeds & nuts from the snack food compared to the unhealthy processed snack people get to eat. Since nuts & seeds are calorie dense they help in gambling hunger bangs.
Eaten moderately in traditional MD’S are eggs, yoghurt, cottage cheese, cow/sheep/goats milk, goat cheese, aged cheese & skim mozzarella.
Is beneficial when taken after a muscle works out.
Word of Caution
Fruits have to be sun-dried with no added sugar.
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
Mediterranean Diet & Weight loss
Eating this traditional Mediterranean diet pattern by itself is healthy and one will not have to battle with the bulges.
Mediterranean Diet Plan has a fair balance of whole grains, legumes, saturated fats, vegetables, fruits, Nuts & seeds & dried fruits and not to forget the seafood. Moderation and cooking methods are the key. And if one needs to maintain ideal body weight or even one who is attempting to lose weight, the Mediterranean style diets are the best.
Mediterranean style diet generally recommends the user to use healthy food oils during food preparation namely extra virgin olive oil and also encourage them to eat more fresh fish delicacies.
Mediterranean Diet Plan
- Whole grains for the main course
- Lots of seasonal vegetables & fruits
- Seafood once / twice a week
- Meat & poultry once a week
- Dairy foods
- Nuts and seeds for snacks
- Cooking Methods – Grilled, Baked, Boiled or Roasted to save on calories
- Healthy cooking oil means mostly extra virgin olive oil
- Sweets once in a while and not on a regular basis
- Always Cook and Eat Fresh Food groups
- Shared and eaten with family & friends for better assimilation and absorption
Mediterranean Diet Pattern
Breakfast – Whole grain sandwich, cheese.
Lunch – Whole wheat pasta with tomatoes & seasonal vegetable, Yogurt.
Dinner – Fish, salad or Mediterranean Lasagna and one fruit.
Wine – Moderate.
Choice of Oil – Olive.
Nuts and Seeds – as snacks in case of hunger pangs.
Sample Mediterranean Diet Plan
Verdict On Mediterranean Diet Plan
People living in the Mediterranean have always enjoyed better health status. And this is mainly because of adherence to their traditional food habits.
Most of the foods they eat are fresh, seasonal, whole foods, and that which is grown locally. Apart from food, regular physical activity and leisure dining are the reasons for their radiating good health.