The Mediterranean diet is an expression used to define the dietary system of people living in the Mediterranean basin. Researchers have found that those who eat Mediterranean food have a high average life expectancy and a low prevalence of the cardiovascular disease. In addition, it is very tasty to lose weight on such a system. The results depend on the duration, usually weight loss up to 7 lb without hard restrictions.
Mediterranean diet for weight loss
First of all, you need to pay attention to the fact that comfortable weight loss is in one way or another associated with the acquisition of healthy eating habits. We learn to regulate body weight and eliminate from the diet anything that can lead to weight gain and disease. Nutritionists say that using this type of diet, you can lose weight even by 10 lb per week.
In other words, food is good for more than just the whole family. It is necessary to follow the principles of the so-called healthy eating pyramid, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mediterranean diet adapted to the conditions of USA: basic rules
- the use of sea fish (herring, cod, mackerel);
- seafood (shrimp, mussels) and white meat (chicken, turkey);
- increased consumption of fruits (grapes, apricots, peaches, etc.) and vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, etc.);
- the use of legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas);
- eating nuts (walnuts, cashews, peanuts, almonds);
- increased consumption of grain products;
- red wine in small quantities;
- restricting foods containing saturated fatty acids (cookies, fried foods, margarine);
- the use of olive oil.
To achieve weight loss, you will need to switch to 5 meals a day. In this case, it is necessary to follow these recommendations:
The 3 main meals are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The other two meals are for additional snacks. The diet is structured in such a way that carbohydrate foods are used in the first half of the day and protein in the other.
Candy isn’t exactly health food. If you have a sweet tooth, try substituting fruits such as apricots and watermelon. These types of healthy sweets are allowed 3 times a week.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
These are foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Olive oil
Substitute olive oil for butter and use it loosely in salads and in cooking.
- Whole grains
Eat whole-grain bread or crispbreads.
- Nuts and seeds
These are the second most important healthy fats to eat in moderation every day. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews.
They are high in protein and low in calories.
- Herbs and spices
Use fresh and dried herbs instead of salt and high-calorie seasonings to enhance the flavor of your meals.
- Dairy products
Low-fat milk, yogurts, and semi-skimmed dairy cheeses are good options, as well as sources of calcium, protein, and vitamin A.
Once or twice a week, you can pamper yourself with a meal:
Chicken contains less cholesterol than red meat. Make sure to remove skin and excess oil.
- Fish and seafood
Grilled fish, baked or boiled, with herbs and olive oil. Avoid breading and searing.
Boil, not fry.
Add fruits or nuts (sometimes honey) to plain Greek yogurt.
The first breakfast is whole-grain cereal porridge, raw or boiled vegetables.
The second breakfast can be seen as a complementary fruit and dairy snack.
For lunch, dishes of noodles or rice, meat or fish, vegetable soups, salads from fresh vegetables are served.
For dinner and an additional snack – light casseroles of vegetables, seafood, cheese, fruit salad with yogurt sauce.
Mediterranean diet menu for every day
Breakfast: add dried fruits to muesli and pour over low-fat milk.
Lunch: assorted vegetable casserole (potato rings, zucchini or eggplant, onion, tomato). Fold in layers, pour sour cream, and bake in the oven.
Dinner: chop the tomato at random, grind it with grated low-fat cheese and parsley.
Breakfast: cover bran or whole-grain bread with melted cheese, vegetables (cucumber, tomato).
Lunch: a portion of dark rice with a piece of baked chicken, vegetable salad with olive oil.
Dinner: stewed vegetables, a glass of kefir, yogurt without sugar, or fermented baked milk.
Breakfast: fruit salad with sugar-free yogurt, green tea.
Lunch: salad of your favorite vegetables, seasoned with olive oil and soy tofu. Boiled or baked salmon.
Dinner: stewed vegetables. A glass of yogurt without sugar or fermented baked milk.
Breakfast: bran or whole-grain bread sandwich with boiled meat and lettuce.
Lunch: prepare minced chicken with tomato sauce. A portion of boiled pasta. Vegetable salad seasoned with olive oil.
Dinner: Shrimps with a salad of your favorite vegetables.
Breakfast: salad – boiled eggs, radish, cucumber, green onion, season with sugar-free yogurt or low-fat sour cream.
Lunch: prepare homemade rolls – Lettuce leaves, dark rice on top, scrambled eggs, salmon. We wrap it up.
Dinner: bran or whole-grain bread with a slice of low-fat cheese. Tomato and garlic salad with olive oil.
Breakfast: porridge millet or oatmeal, boiled in water, add milk and fruit.
Lunch: chicken soup, vegetables, dark rice.
Dinner: baked sea fish with lemon and tomato. A salad of your favorite vegetables without oil.
Breakfast: preparing an omelet with a tomato. Green tea.
Lunch: Greek salad (vegetables, tofu, olives) with olive oil.
Dinner: a portion of boiled potatoes with a slice of baked salmon. Toast made from bran or whole-grain bread with tomato slices.
Diet, as described above, markedly improves well-being. Below are some of the most commonly cited benefits:
- prevent heart disease;
- reduce the risk of a heart attack;
- lower cholesterol levels;
- prevent type 2 diabetes;
- prevent metabolic syndrome;
- Alzheimer’s disease;
- Parkinson’s disease.
And it has also been proven that people who eat according to this scheme are less likely to be obese.
What you need to know about the power system
The study of diet began when scientists realized that people living in Italy, Greece, and Spain are generally healthier than in the USA. They studied everything that these people did, and it all came down to this type of food. The Mediterranean diet is not a diet in the usual sense – it is a lifestyle.
Mediterranean food – 10 easy steps
Summing up the observations of nutritionists, I can recommend 10 simple steps to change your lifestyle and health.
- High intake of whole grains and unprocessed carbohydrates
Replace white bread and white rice with whole grains and reduce or eliminate processed foods high in sugar. Eat Deeply Colored Fruits and Vegetables: The intense color of fruits and vegetables is a clear signal that antioxidant levels are high, which helps protect your cells from aging and disease.
Reduces the level of acids in the body, controlling the acid-base balance in the blood and the digestive system. This is a very easy and powerful way to prevent inflammation.
- Healthy vegetable fats
Emphasize the consumption of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avoiding creamy and fried foods.
- Moderate alcohol consumption
A glass or two of wine a day is fine. Red wine is the best because it is rich in antioxidants and tends to raise the “good” cholesterol in the body.
Great protein supplement.
A healthy and enjoyable snack. Nuts are high in monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, antioxidants, and folate. I eat 10 nuts twice a day as a snack.
- The main protein of fish
Replace red meat with saltwater fish. Fresh fish contains Omega-3s and generally provides better nutrition than pork and poultry. It is best to bake and boil the fish rather than fry it.
- Blue and purple fruits
As grapes, blueberries and pomegranates have higher levels of antioxidants.
- Reduce your intake of salt and refined sugar
Sugar is empty calories and can increase your risk of diabetes.
Many Mediterranean people love and drink wine. Red wine is preferred. Studies have shown that drinking wine in moderation can lower your risk of a heart attack. Drinking in moderation means no more than one glass of wine a day for a woman and two for a man. Excessive consumption can cause high blood pressure and weakening of the heart muscle. Purple grape juice has the same beneficial effects as drinking wine and is considered a healthy alternative.
Mediterranean type of food: secrets of the Mediterranean Sea’s centenarians
Instead of a cake, they eat vegetables and fruits for dessert. Olives, avocados, grapes are just some of the foods that are used in the Mediterranean. If you eat 3-4 fruits every day, you will get antioxidants, which are critical in the fight against heart disease and cancer. Some of the popular vegetables are spinach, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and beans.
They always have nuts for snacks on hand.
Nuts are an important staple in the Mediterranean diet. They are high in healthy monounsaturated fats that do not harm our arteries. Scientific studies have shown that almonds and walnuts are the most beneficial to health. Eat a handful as a snack after breakfast.
They season their food with garlic, onions, and aromatic herbs.
Mediterranean herbs are delicious everywhere, from meats, soups and stews, pizza, and spaghetti. You can replace salt with garlic and aromatic herbs. It has been found that garlic is one of the main contributors to the low incidence of high blood pressure in Mediterranean countries.
Recent studies have shown that garlic lowers cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, prevents blood clots, and protects our bodies through its antioxidant properties. Onions and other aromatic herbs are very similar to garlic. They contain about 25 active compounds that help fight heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.
They eat less fatty cheese, yogurt, eggs, and red meat.
Milk is not a big part of the diet – yogurt and cheese are an important part of the diet. Nevertheless, these products are used more economically, as an appetizer, dessert, or salad. Cheese and yogurt are high in calcium.
The downside is that they have high cholesterol levels, and if you go for the low-fat options, you’ll get a lot of good calcium without bad fat. The Mediterranean diet recommends 2 servings (or more, depending on your needs) per day of dairy products. That is 1 glass of low-fat milk or yogurt or about 1 oz of low-fat cheese.
Eggs are consumed in moderation. Allowed about 4 pcs. per week and this includes the amount used in cooking and baking.
They prefer fish and poultry instead of red meat. In fact, they only eat red meat a few times a month. Fish and seafood two or three times a week. You should try eating more salmon, trout, and herring because they contain more Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your health.
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help against cardiovascular and heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation, acne, depression, anxiety, birth defects, and miscarriages.
They prefer olive oil instead of butter and sunflower oil
Don’t eat a lot of butter and margarine. Instead, replace saturated fat with olive oil, which is rich in unsaturated fat and antioxidants. They really love olive oil, which is really good as it has many health benefits. Provides protection against heart disease by controlling cholesterol levels and has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis, and also reduces the incidence of gallstone formation.
In other words, if you want to stay healthy, switch to olive oil!
An afternoon nap is another good habit. Scientific research has shown that naps are very beneficial for your health. Sleep should not be longer than 20 minutes, otherwise, you may wake up with a headache. A 15-minute nap at noon will prevent stress.
Enjoy a glass of wine
They are known to drink a glass of wine with a meal. Research shows that, in some cases, it can be beneficial to health. Drinking in moderation (one glass of wine a day) can help you lose weight, reduce forgetfulness, boost immunity, and prevent osteoporosis.
On foot or by bike?
According to two reports from the Archives of Internal Medicine, nutrition and the implementation of national guidelines for physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of death within 5 years. For example, walking and cycling are typical methods of transportation, but not as common in USA.
There are ways to get around this:
- Get up early and go for a 20-minute walk before breakfast, or try to go for a short walk during your lunch break.
- You can park your car within walking distance of shops or get off one bus/train stop earlier, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
There are many ways to be physically active.
- Focus primarily on eating fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains with a daily serving of beans, nuts, or seeds.
- Eat fish regularly and only a small amount of red meat. Use garlic, onions, and herbs to season your food and reduce salt.
- Olive oil should be your main source of fat instead of butter and margarine.
- When you really want something sweet, do not reach for a dessert with high sugar content or for a bun – choose fruit.
- Eat slowly with friends and family, and take an afternoon nap.
- Enjoy your daily walks!
One of the first studies to focus on the beneficial effects of such nutrition was the Seven Countries Study in the early 1960s. More than 12,000 men from 7 countries took part in it. Analysis of the results showed a close relationship between the concentration of cholesterol in the blood and the incidence of coronary heart disease.
It turned out that the largest deaths due to coronary heart disease concerned those living in the United States and Finland. The lowest incidence rate was in Greece, Italy, and Japan. Excellent results showed the protective effect of unsaturated fatty acids, which was later confirmed by scientific studies.
Apply at least some or all of your dietitian recommendations and you are well on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
In fact, people living around the Mediterranean have eaten this way for centuries and tend to have fewer diseases than in a society that consumes more processed foods.
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