What is the Mediterranean Diet ?

The Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle. And so it’s not merely a set of dos and don’ts especially in relation to your eating habits. To benefit most from it, long time practice is needed. Because of this you have a lot of leeway in following the Mediterranean Diet. In terms of food you can simply have the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as your guide and you will go a long way.

There are millions of people today who are either overweight or obese. Perhaps it’s the combination of having an unhealthy eating habit and leading a sedentary lifestyle. It’s no wonder why a significant number of diet plans have cropped up over the years.

The history of the Mediterranean diet can be traced back to 1945 when it was publicized by Ancel Keys in Salerno, Italy. However, it was only during the 1990s that the Mediterranean has gained popularity.

The Basic Rules to Follow for the Mediterranean Diet

1. Follow the traditional healthy Mediterranean diet pyramid.
When following the Mediterranean diet, there’s a helpful pyramid illustration which you can use as a reference. On top of the pyramid is meat followed by sweets, eggs, poultry and fish. These should be consumed monthly and weekly. The bottom part of the pyramid includes the food groups which should be consumed on a daily basis which includes cheese, yogurt, olive oil, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, couscous, polenta and other whole grains and potatoes.

2. The proportions of what you are eating should be just right.
Another rule to follow if you are a proponent of the Mediterranean diet is the proportion of the foods that you are eating. Make sure that your diet consists of 20% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 30% fats.

3. The Mediterranean involves an intensive use of olive oil.
As you can see from the list of foods included on the Mediterranean diet pyramid, they are mostly Italian or Mediterranean food staples. This is the reason why olive oil plays such a huge part in the diet, because of the health benefits that it brings. It contains antioxidants, oleic acid, vitamins, iron and poliphenols which help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure level.

4. Substitute sugar with honey.
Instead of sugar, sweeten your food and drinks with honey.

5. Drink six glasses of water and make sure that you have plenty of daily physical activity.
This is an integral part of the weight loss and healthy living program which is the Mediterranean diet. Make sure to drink six glasses of water, and get the daily physical activity that you need.

6. Other rules to follow.
The Mediterranean Diet extends its reach by segregating heart healthy fats from unhealthy ones. The sources of the latter are the ones you should be wary about to maintain a healthy heart. That’s why it is suggested that you minimize red meat intake and you avoid western sweets and desserts.

The use of olive oil is also strongly suggested. With its high antioxidant content, olive oil helps fight heart diseases and it helps strengthen the immune system. The Mediterranean Diet also encourages the consumption of a many plant food such as vegetables, nuts and legumes, fruits and unprocessed cereals. Fish is also promoted since it is rich in omega-3.

What are the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

The result would be high antioxidant levels in the body. So, your immune system is strengthened. You also avoid heart diseases because your diet is able to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. The same mechanism helps you lose weight.

The good thing about losing weight this way is it is safe and healthy. All food groups are taken in so your body receives complete and well-balanced nutrients. You even get to eat tasty food while on diet.