Are you looking for a new diet? If so one of the best options if the Mediterranean Diet. This region’s cuisine has become famous for being a good option for heart health. This includes dishes that are generally healthier than Western food. This diet includes many healthy foods like fish/seafood, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and olive oil. Another key element is wine. Many people consider alcohol to be unhealthy but it can be healthy. Some studies show that drinking a glass of wine every day can provide several health benefits. If you want to ditch a high calorie/carb/fat diet then you should consider the Mediterranean diet 7-day meal plan.
Like other diets, it’s important to get some ideas about how to get started on the Mediterranean Diet. For example, what foods should you eat and avoid? How can you combine different ingredients to make dishes and different dishes to make meals? Once you get this information you’ll be on your way to eating healthy meals, dropping pounds, and burning fat. These dishes are mostly plant-based foods like whole grains, beans, and nuts. You’ll also be eating heart-friendly protein sources like fish and chicken. If you want you can also enjoy a moderate amount of red or white wine. You’ll also need to do exercise like gym workouts.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
Fun Fact: Spain (#4) and Italy (#6) are among the world’s top-10 life expectancies. These Southern European countries are located in the Mediterranean so it’s worth finding out the secret to the region’s longevity.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on the region’s cuisine and includes many of the nations’ heart-healthy foods. These include:
- Whole grains
- Olive/Canola oil
- Wine (optional)
This diet isn’t vegetarian/vegan but it’s heavy on plant-based foods. Here are some key elements:
1. Healthy fats
The diet focuses on “good” fat. For example, it swaps out butter for healthier options like olive/canola oil. Extra-virgin olive oils are the best choice.
The diet also limits saturated/trans-fats. You’ll get healthy fats including omega-3 from foods like fatty fish, nuts, and olive oil.
The diet plan replaces salt with herbs/spices.
3. Lean protein
Another big difference with this diet vs. traditional Western diets is its light on red meat. For example, Greeks average 9 servings/day of high-antioxidant fruit and veggies. This diet requires fish or chicken a few times per week.
In the Mediterranean whole-grain bread are common. For example, bread is usually eaten plain. It also doesn’t include fatty/sugary spreads but instead is dipped in olive oil.
About 80% of nuts’ calories are from fat. This is good fat but they’re also high-calorie so you shouldn’t eat tons or with salt/honey.
That’s right! You can drink a moderate amount of wine with the Mediterranean Diet. Moderate means about one glass but NOT a bottle of wine.
Finally, exercise is another important component of this diet. You must get plenty of it. This could include a walk in the park, home gym workouts, hiking up a mountain, etc. What’s important is to avoid sitting all day whether it’s at a computer or behind the wheel. That’s an unhealthy “sedentary lifestyle.”
Mediterranean Diet 7-Day Meal Plan
If you want to follow this diet it all starts with knowing the key ingredients. The next step is to combine them for nutritious and delicious meals. Here are some ideas for a week’s worth of meals:
1. Tofu Tikka Masala
Not only is this a tasty Indian dish but this is a vegetarian version that features bean-based tofu. If you want you can also make this a chicken version that includes poultry instead of soybean.
2. Shrimp, Arugula, and White Bean Salad
This salad includes tons of nutrients and flavor. The main ingredients add protein, Vitamin Bs, and omega-3. You’ll also get antioxidants from cherry tomatoes. Salads can contain healthy raw veggies, herbs, and spices.
3. Salmon & Veggie Quinoa
This dish includes various Mediterranean ingredients. Salmon is a fatty fish that’s loaded with omega-3. It’s interesting the “veggies” in the dish (tomatoes and cucumbers) are technically fruits, but they’re cooked as vegetables so it’s no big deal. Quinoa is a high-protein and gluten-free plant food.
4. Stuffed Peppers
This is a Mediterranean twist on a popular dish. It includes ingredients like ground beef, chickpeas, rice, tomatoes, and lots of herbs and spices. The chickpeas and herbs/spices are what make this dish Mediterranean.
5. Pearl Couscous
This dish originally included steamed balls made of crushed wheat and is usually served with a stew that’s added on top. Other dishes can be made by cooking other cereals in this way and are also known as couscous.
This version is a hearty dish that includes chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, and olives. You can add some mozzarella to get some cheesy goodness.
6. Quinoa Salad
There’s another Mediterranean dish that puts quinoa front and center. You’ll also get healthy ingredients like feta cheese, roasted bell peppers, and olives. They’re not only healthy but also tasty.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Why should you consider this diet over others? Here are some of the main benefits you can experience:
1. Blood sugar
Various studies show the Mediterranean Diet can help to reduce the effects and risks of diabetes. People who already have type-2 diabetes might experience benefits like lower blood sugar and better heart health.
Studies show the Mediterranean diet performs better versus low-fat diets in terms of blood sugar and weight loss. This seems to suggest the importance of eating “good” fats instead of low fats.
2. Heart disease
Several studies show that this diet can help to reduce your risk of heart disease. That includes the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
This is probably due to factors like lower blood pressure/cholesterol resulting from olive oil. This is one of the key ingredients of the diet and is loaded with healthy fats.
One study suggests that the chemicals in olive oil might help to boost bone density. This is done by protecting bone cells. Another health study showed that the diet might help lower people’s risk of osteoporosis, which is more common among senior women.
This is an interesting one because it’s not related to physical health. Studies show that it might help very sad people. A 2013 study showed that people on this diet had a 98% lower risk of becoming depressed.
5. Brain function
Studies show that the Mediterranean Diet can help to boost brain power and also help to prevent various conditions like dementia. One study showed the diet was linked to a 40% drop in the risk of brain issues.
The Mediterranean diet might help to fight cancer effectively. Studies show that people on this diet have a nearly 15% lower risk of dying from over a dozen types of cancer when following the Mediterranean diet 7-day meal plan.