The Mediterranean diet is a plan based on traditional foods that people used to eat in countries such as Italy and Greece back in the 1900’s.
Extensive research over the years has shown that these people were particularly healthy in comparison to nations such as America, and studies have proven that the Mediterranean diet can aid weight loss, as well as prevent health complications such as heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re looking to improve your health and diet, the Mediterranean diet could be exactly what you’re looking for.
As well as the proven benefits, another advantage is that it isn’t a restrictive diet and there is no one right way to follow it, meaning there is lots of room for variety when it comes to meal planning.
Here are the foods to eat, food to avoid and pros and cons you need to know about.
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Foods to eat
- Eat often: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, species, seafood and fish.
- Eat in moderation: Eggs, cheese, yogurt and poultry.
- Eat very rarely: Red meat.
Foods to avoid
- Added sugar, e.g fizzy drinks, sweets, ice cream and table sugar
- Refined grains, e.g white bread, pasta or any food made with refined wheat.
- Trans-fatty acids, e.g margarine and other processed foods
- Refined oils, e.g soybean oil
- Processed meats
Weight loss: According to Healthline, the Mediterranean diet helps you lose weight as it doesn’t cater for processed foods and added sugars, which have a very high calorie count. Paired with a healthy lifestyle and exercise, the diet aids weight loss.
Heart health: People following the diet eat plenty of nuts, and olive oil which can improve cholesterol and blood pressure.
Reduces risk of type 2 Diabetes: A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that people following the Mediterranean diet were 52% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with a control group. Other research suggests that the diet plan can help to improve the body’s ability to use insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar.
Reduces inflammation: Everyone experiences acute levels of inflammation in the body, but chronic inflammation can pave the way for a whole host of health problems such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But the foods contained in the Mediterranean diet may help to reduce levels of inflammation, which is ideal for your health.
The Mediterranean diet is more of a tweak to your food choices rather than a strict plan, but it can still pose some potential problems. People may find it difficult to follow and cut out certain foods, and it can be more expensive when it comes to food shopping.