Every one of us is aware of the increasing rate of obesity amongst people all around the world. As per a study conducted by the WHO (World Health Organization), About 11% of the world population suffers from obesity. 39% of men and 39% of women around the world are obese.
One of the main reasons for obesity is the indiscriminate use of processed food and proper exercise. If you are obese and think about losing some extra pounds, you should look for a different Mediterranean diet for weight loss.
The Mediterranean diet originated from the countries near the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece, Italy, and Middle Eastern nations. The Mediterranean diet has received popularity in the last few years, and thus, it is essential to know about the Mediterranean diet’s pros and cons.
Mediterranean Diet Benefits
Physical health benefit of the Mediterranean diet
- After using the Mediterranean diet for five or more years, the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes was reduced by more than 31%.
- A Mediterranean diet added with nuts reduces the levels of oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol)
- The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes by 52%
Mental/cognitive health benefits
- Patients with greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet have the lowest risk of cognitive impairment as per research.
- In a study conducted, it was found that people on a Mediterranean diet lost weight quickly and effectively compared to people who were on a low-fat diet. Although Mediterranean diet foods can’t be called a weight loss diet, it plays an essential role in reducing weight.
- A study found that people who followed Mediterranean diets gained better health over time than the low-carb diet. The best part about the Mediterranean diet is that you don’t have to eat refined forms of carbs. Although Mediterranean diets are rich in whole grain cereals, they don’t contain as many carbs as the refined carb sources.
- Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes by 52%.
- As per a study, it was also found that the Mediterranean diet also helps in reducing insulin resistance.
- Mediterranean diet also improves blood sugar and insulin levels in a better way as compared to the low-fat diet.
- The use of the Mediterranean diet for a longer duration can also reduce the need for medication in people with type II Diabetes.
Varieties of the Mediterranean diet
When you are thinking about following a Mediterranean diet mostly eaten by Jewish people, Arabs, Greece, and additional Mediterranean people, you must include the following food varieties in your diet.
The majority of grains should be whole grains like wheat, oats, quinoa, and corn. The grains are consumed whole. Other common grains used in the Mediterranean diet food list include barley, buckwheat, farro, and millets.
Most people don’t get the actual difference between the Mediterranean diet vs. the vegan diet. While the Mediterranean diet uses different types of plants, it also includes seafood. Some of the significant vegetables used in Mediterranean diet easy recipes include arugula, beets, broccoli, Babbage, celery, and mushroom.
Olive oil is one of the essential components of the Mediterranean diet. It is used for baking, cooking, and also for dressing varieties of salads.
Nuts, beans, and seeds
All Mediterranean diets are incomplete without the use of lots of nuts, beans, and leguminous seeds. Kidney beans, walnuts, tahini sauce, and pistachios are the most critical components of the Mediterranean diet.
Taste and spices
Different herbs and spices add aromas and taste to the Mediterranean diet. The use of spices also reduces the need to add extra salt while cooking. Spices and herbs also include different types of antioxidants.
They are beneficial for health. Moreover, they give a distinct identity to the Mediterranean diet. Some of the primary herbs and spices used in the Mediterranean diet include anise, basil, bay leaf, garlic, fennel, mint, oregano, parsley, sumac, thyme, tarragon, and Zaátar. Thus, when dining with Jewish people, you will find lots of aroma and vibrant colors of the food on the table.
Cost of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet cost is more than the western diet and other unhealthy and unprocessed food. This is because the Mediterranean diet used healthy sources of oil, seafood, and all other ingredients.
Thus, if you want to include the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet in your life, you may have to spend some extra bucks every month.
Those people who are on the Mediterranean diet spend an additional $1 per 1000kcal. The Mediterranean diet can be made more appealing to users worldwide if it can be made affordable.
Following is the primary food list included in the Mediterranean diets:
Extra virgin olive oil
The traditional Mediterranean diet uses Olive oil in everything they eat. They use it for salad dressing, roasting seafood, sauteing vegetables, tossing pasta, and all other food they eat.
Legumes are another critical component of the Mediterranean diet. Some of the significant legume varieties used in the Mediterranean diet include lentils, chickpeas, peas, and beans. Legumes are essential sources of protein, and thus, traditional Mediterranean diets always have legume as one of the components.
The Mediterranean diet can be called more than a collection of different food and nutrients. Most Mediterranean diets lay particular focus on home cooking. One of the most important factors concerning Mediterranean diets is that it uses locally grown crops and ingredients.
All food associated with the Mediterranean region is used as an ingredient in a traditional Mediterranean household. Some of the primary elements that are an indispensable part of the Mediterranean diet include olives, olive oil, wheat, wine, wild greens like arugula, herbs, and feta and yogurt.
Since the Mediterranean diet is followed by people who reside around the Mediterranean sea, seafood is an essential component of the Mediterranean diet. Most people who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet need at least two servings of seafood every week. You can obtain seafood from different sources like fish. Mediterranean people eat different varieties of fish, and they have different recipes to prepare fish.
Alcohol use is permitted in the Mediterranean diet, but alcohol is used in moderation. The primary source of alcohol is wine. Mediterranean region is known for different varieties of wine, and thus, different types of wine are used in Mediterranean diet recipes and as a central component of beverage.
People in Mediterranean nations also drink wine as a rule during meals. Mostly people prefer red wine as it contains antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids.
How restrictive is the Mediterranean diet?
Most of the diets that people follow restrict a variety of food items. But, this isn’t the case with the Mediterranean diet. Under this diet, you are asked to use various food items, flavors, and fantastic taste. Mediterranean diet is all about using different components in the food and trying to avoid bad food or junk food.
When comparing the Mediterranean diet vs. keto diet, you can eat many more items than the lots of restrictions imposed under the keto diet. But, looking deeper into the Mediterranean diet components, the following are some of the food items you should try to avoid if you are following a Mediterranean diet:
- Red meat
- Processed meat and meat products
- Try to avoid added sugar as much as possible.
- This diet doesn’t encourage hard liquors like Vodka and Tequila.
- You have to stay away from refined grains and cereals.
- Butter is mostly replaced by olive oil.
- The Mediterranean diet restricts the consumption of Hydrogenated oil.
Ease of cooking
Mediterranean diets are not tough to follow. The best part about the Mediterranean diet is that you don’t have to worry too much about cooking. All you need to do is to cook food at your home by using locally available products. You don’t have to use lots of exotic items and products when planning to cook Mediterranean food.
Required effort to follow the diet
Mediterranean diets are not too tough to follow. Thus, if you are a beginner thinking about following a diet regime that can help you get maximum health benefits, the Mediterranean diet can be one of the best options.
Lots of spices and flavors are included while cooking Mediterranean food. Thus, you won’t get the feeling of eating bland food. Anyone who has not followed any diet can easily follow the Mediterranean one. The only issue you may face is that you may have to restrict yourself from eating processed and packaged food.
Mediterranean diet for kids
The Mediterranean diet is pretty suitable for kids. It reduces obesity and other health problems in kids and promotes healthy mental and physical development. The parents need to advise and guide their kids at each stage of following the Mediterranean diet.
Kids mostly like the aroma and fantastic taste of Mediterranean food. The only problem kids may face while following the Mediterranean diet is that they have to stay away from processed food like chocolates and cookies.
Mediterranean diet suitable for beginners
If you have always been fearful of dieting, you can quickly start your dieting journey by following a Mediterranean diet. Since the Mediterranean diet doesn’t restrict you from eating different food varieties, you will follow the Mediterranean diet at much ease.
Mediterranean diet and Sustainability aspect
The Mediterranean diet is plant-focused, and thus, it can be called one of the most sustainable diet options. The menu stresses using seasons and locally grown food. The diet used lots of fruits, vegetables, seasoning, spics, and whole grains as a food component.
With the use of moderate amounts of meat and meat products, the Mediterranean diet is environmentally sustainable, and it is suitable to get the best health benefits.
As per a research conducted by scientists worldwide, the Mediterranean diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 72% and land use by almost 58%. Switching to a Mediterranean diet can reduce energy consumption by 52% and water consumption by 33%.
Thus, if you are looking for a sustainable diet option, the Mediterranean diet can be one of the best options to follow.
Risks of the Mediterranean diet
While the Mediterranean diet is full of different nutrients, the eating patterns can lead to a deficiency of nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D. Additionally, another significant risk associated with the Mediterranean diet is that women who follow it can have the chance of low bone density and mass.
If you are looking for a diet plan backed by science and research, following a Mediterranean diet can be one of the best options. People and nations around Mediterranean regions have embraced the diet for a long time. The best part about the Mediterranean diet is that it supports a protocol of eating together with family.
Thus, besides getting lost health benefits, the Mediterranean diet also promotes emotion and love when people eat together. The Mediterranean diet is not at all tough to follow, as you can eat anything you want except processed and refined food items.
If you are afraid of trying any diet regime as you are unsure about its effectiveness, try following the Mediterranean diet for its fantastic benefits.
Let us know about your experience with the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet’s foundation is based on fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and seeds. If you want a diet that can offer you the best health benefits for a long duration, the Mediterranean diet can be one of the best options to follow.