The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest and most popular food choices worldwide. This diet is composed of foods typically found in countries with shores on the Mediterranean Sea such as Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal. This diet has been linked to the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. However, many do not know how to start adopting this diet in their daily lives. Here are six steps to get started with Mediterranean food.
Incorporate more fruits and vegetables
One of the most important features of the Mediterranean diet is the consumption of a large amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that help prevent chronic diseases. It is recommended to incorporate at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day.
Limit red meat
Red meat is consumed in very limited quantities in the Mediterranean diet. Instead of red meat, proteins from vegetable sources such as beans, lentils and nuts are consumed. When meat is consumed, white meat such as chicken or turkey is preferred.
One of the most popular dishes in the Italian Mediterranean is gnocchi. If you want to experiment with this dish and delight yourself with its great taste as well as its versatility when it comes to bringing new proposals to your table, check out a great variety of options at the following link: olivieri.ca/gnocchi-recipes/
Using olive oil
Olive oil is the main fat in the Mediterranean diet. It is used in place of butter and other oils for cooking and salad dressings. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall health.
Consuming fish and seafood
Fish and seafood consumption is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. These foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve brain health. It is recommended to consume fish at least twice a week.
Consuming dairy products in moderation
Although the Mediterranean diet includes dairy products, they are consumed in moderation. Low-fat dairy products, such as Greek yogurt and feta cheese, are preferred. These products are rich in protein, calcium and probiotics.
Enjoying a glass of red wine
Drinking red wine in moderation has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. A glass of red wine with dinner is recommended. However, if you do not consume alcohol, you do not need to start doing so to follow the Mediterranean diet.
Initial shopping list
This is just a guide to get you started with the basics and get you started in the Mediterranean lifestyle:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: look for a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, spinach, strawberries, peaches and grapes.
- Olive oil: choose high quality extra virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings.
- Fish and seafood: look for fresh fish and seafood options, such as salmon, tuna, shrimp and mussels.
- Vegetable protein: include legumes, such as beans, lentils and chickpeas, as well as nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
- Low-fat dairy products: opt for Greek yogurt and feta cheese for protein and calcium.
- Herbs and spices: try different herbs and spices to spice up your food, such as oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic and onion.
- Whole-grain bread: look for whole-grain or whole-wheat bread options to complement meals.
- Red wine: If alcohol is consumed, choose a bottle of high-quality red wine to enjoy with dinner.
Remember to focus on fresh, high quality foods, as well as balance and variety in the diet.
In addition to the six steps mentioned above, it is important to remember that hydration is essential to a healthy diet. It is recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, avoiding sugary drinks, and keep alcohol to levels of 1 or 2 glasses of wine a day. It is also important to exercise regularly and get enough sleep to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
In summary, the Mediterranean diet is an excellent choice for those who wish to improve their health through diet and lifestyle. Not only is it delicious and easy to follow, but it has also been shown to have long-term health benefits. Therefore, it is worth considering adopting the Mediterranean diet in your daily life for a better quality of life.