Are you longing for a heart-healthy diet plan that will help you lose weight too? Then, Mediterranean Diet (a plant-based healthy-eating diet) is worth trying. It ensures good heart health and healthy weight loss and keeps your body fit and active. The diet first began gaining interest in people in the 1950s.
At that time, the researchers noted that the people of Mediterranean countries who follow this diet suffer less from heart diseases or strokes than those of other countries like the USA (who don’t follow this diet).
They researched the matter, and every research confirmed that pursuing Mediterranean Diet is a great way to avoid heart ailments or strokes. Feeling curious to know more about this diet?
Well! We are feeling eager to confide with you about its details as well! So, let’s proceed and discover everything about the Mediterranean diet, including the diet chart. Here we go…
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
The term “Mediterranean Diet” came from the eating habits or diets of the Mediterranean people, that is, the people who reside in the nations edging the Mediterranean Sea. Such nations include Italy, France, Spain, Greece, etc.
Mediterranean food or diet is based on all these countries’ traditional cuisines that are made of majorly plant-related products: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds, spices, legumes, nuts, herbs, etc.
The cooking oil that they use to add to their cooking is olive oil, a healthy oil that is their leading source of extra fat. The Mediterranean people include fish, dairy, and poultry products, wine, and seafood in their diet in moderation, and red meats and sweets as occasional treats. You might wonder why they drink alcohol in moderation when alcohol is good for reducing heart ailment risks, right?
It is because alcohol is often associated with other health risks and these people believe in keeping themselves healthy in all ways than spending their whole life in unrestrained enjoyment and dying early.
Since the Mediterranean diet is mainly based on plant products, it doesn’t mean it’s fat-free.
The difference between it from other diets is that it’s a diet that supports indulging in healthy fats and curbing the unhealthy ones.
Wanna proof of it? Well! These people cook their food with olive oil, which is a major source of monounsaturated fat (added fat) that helps lower your body’s bad (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol level as well as total cholesterol level.
Besides this, the Mediterranean diet meal plan also includes nuts and seeds that also do the same work in your body that olive oil does because, like olive oil, they also comprise monounsaturated fats in them.
Moreover, the Mediterranean diet food list also encompasses various fatty fishes (for example, mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, etc) in which polyunsaturated fats in the form of omega-3 fatty acids are present in large amounts.
So, eating these fish saves you from various health risks by controlling your triglycerides level, ameliorating blood clotting, and dropping off the heart failure or stroke risks.
In brief, you can say that attending the Mediterranean diet gives you several health benefits. Keep reading on to know more about them:
Mediterranean Diet 5 Benefits:
1. Improves Your Heart Health:
After several studies on Mediterranean food, researchers have confirmed that the Mediterranean diet can improve one’s heart health. With it, your heart disease’s risk or stroke risk gets lowered. Compared with the effects of a low-fat food diet, the Mediterranean diet excels.
This is because the Mediterranean diet slows up the plaque buildup progression in your arteries, thereby curbing your risk of heart ailments.
Apart from that, the Mediterranean diet meal plan also lowers the diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels and, thus indirectly, favors your heart’s health.
Many researchers have been conducted to ensure the benefits of the Mediterranean diet on people’s brain health with success, and scientists have concluded that this diet is a great way to Improve one’s brain functions, processing speed, and attention and gives protection against one’s cognitive decline with his increase of age.
Besides, various scientific studies on this diet also inferred that the diet not only improves our memory but also reduces the risks of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment.
3. Maintains Normal Blood Sugar Of A Person:
Since the Mediterranean diet food list comprises varied nutrient-dense food items such as fruits, vegetables, heart-healthy fats, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, with the pursuance of this diet, one’s blood sugar level remains stabilized or in control.
Also, if you follow this diet, you can save yourself from Type 2 diabetes. Various studies done by scientific researchers support this fact.
They say that this diet has the capability of reducing one’s level of fasting blood sugar as well as insulin resistance and improving the A1C hemoglobin (the marker for assessing long-term blood sugar regulation) level of one’s body.
Read more: 8 Foods to eat for better health in 2023
4. Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Benefits:
Are you trying to lose weight for a long time? Then, the Mediterranean diet may come to your help. A 2020 study by scientific researchers confirms this fact. They say that the people who adhere to the Mediterranean diet have twice the chance of losing weight than those who are the control group members.
5. Improves The Quality Of Sleeping:
A 2018 study by scientific researchers on this diet has pointed out the link between eating this diet by an aged person with his sleeping quality.
With this diet, older adults will find an improvement in their sleeping patterns or quality. However, it may not be the same in the case of younger adults.
What Not To Eat While You Are On This Mediterranean diet?
While you are adopting the Mediterranean diet in your day-to-day life, take yourself away from the following food items or have restrained eating of these foods:
- Red meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, processed meats, etc.
- Margarine or other types of processed foods that have trans fats in them
- Candies, chocolates, pastries, sodas, etc., that have added sugars in them
- Fast food or different types of ultra-processed foods
- White bread, pizza dough, white pasta, or other foods that comprise refined grains or white flour in them
Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan For A Week:
Let’s have a look at the 7-day meal plan for Mediterranean Diet:
1) 1st Day Meal Plan-
Eat vegetable frittata, egg frittata, and chopped avocado spread over whole-grain toast for breakfast. You can eat another piece of the egg and toast to get extra calories into your body.
For lunch, you can have whole-grain pita bread, two ounces of hummus, and a massive green salad spread over a salmon fillet (baked) garnished with red onion, quinoa, fresh tomatoes, and feta cheese. You will be allotted a serving of spicy lentil spinach soup for dinner.
2) 2nd Day Meal Plan-
The next day you will get to eat a serving of Greek Yogurt parfait prepared with nuts, seeds, and dry fruits such as chia seeds, walnuts, and fresh berries in your breakfast.
If you want to intake extra calories for your body, consuming 1 to 2 oz almonds is the perfect way to do it. For lunch, you should eat bowls of Greek chicken grain served with red onions, cucumbers, and olives. You can also put some hummus/avocado into your bowls if you want to boost calorie infusion.
For dinner, you will get baked cod with asparagus and roasted garlic potatoes.
3) 3rd Day Meal Plan-
On the 3rd day, have some steel cut/rolled oats served with severed almonds/almond butter, a small quantity of honey, and fresh fruits in your breakfast. For lunch, you should take Mediterranean Chickpeas with Farro salad; for dinner, it will be Mediterranean shrimp accompanied by whole-wheat pasta.
4) 4th Day Meal Plan-
Go for an uncommon dish on the 4th day of your breakfast. How about Shakshuka? Listening to the name for the first time? Well! It’s an egg platter where eggs are poached in tomato sauce, peppers, garlic, paprika, olive oil, onions, cumin, and cayenne pepper and served.
You will be allotted a huge green-colored salad served with grilled shrimp, fresh vegetables, sunflower seeds, and lentils for lunch.
For dinner, you will get to eat roasted chicken garnished with Brussels sprouts, as well as roasted root vegetables. If you want a hearty and filling meal, an anti-choke can be added to it.
5) 5th Day Meal Plan-
Enjoy your Mediterranean diet’s 5th-day breakfast with sweet potato and a poached egg. In your lunch, you may have lentils as well as tuna salad and Mediterranean pasta in your dinner.
6) 6th Day Meal Plan-
For breakfast, have some Chia pudding. You may also have some fresh berries as well as almond butter during that time. You can consume Mediterranean soup made of white beans and a Greek salad for lunch. Your dinner will include baked fish with garlic, basil, and a Caprese quinoa salad.
7) 7th Day Meal Plan-
The 7th-day breakfast of your Mediterranean diet food list must include overnight soaked oats with berries and nut butter. For lunch, you can have the Mediterranean Buddha Bowl for eating. At night, your dinner will encompass Balsamic roasted chicken along with vegetables.
# Note- For snacks in the Mediterranean diet, there are several options for you, like cottage cheese paired with berries, hummus paired with fresh vegetables, etc. You can also include fresh fruits along with a small number of nuts and a trail mixture containing dried fruits (sugar-free) and nuts in this list.
Besides, Greek yogurt (sugar-free) garnished with fresh fruits, and original sunflower seeds may also be consumed as a Mediterranean snack. Chickpeas, roasted in herbs, and cheese with fresh fruits spread on a hard-boiled egg, are also parts of the Mediterranean diet.
Wanna prepare food for yourself in the Mediterranean way? Then, remember the following 4 tips –
- Prepare your lunch and dinner using vegetables, whole-grained products, etc.
- Keep fish on your food list at least two times a week.
- Stop using butter or other oils for cooking foods. Use olive oil instead
- Treat yourself to desserts made of fresh fruits.
Apart from these, also remain physically fit through exercise and walks and share your spreads with your friends and family. Best of luck with your endeavor…follow the Mediterranean diet, enjoy the foods, and taste their blessings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Mediterranean Diet Meal plan
Q. What are the rules of the Mediterranean diet?
Ans. The rules of the Mediterranean diet can’t be mentioned strictly as there are not any such stringent diets that the Mediterraneans have made. However, following the things that the Mediterranean people consume, it can be concluded that the main aspect of this diet is to curb all animal fatty products and focus on plant products to stay healthy and fit.
Plant and fat-free products include whole grains, nuts, fruits, seeds, legumes, and vegetables. This diet allows heart-healthy fats or plant-based oils such as olive oil, so olive oil is used for cooking Mediterranean foods.
Red meats, dairy products, alcohol, etc. should be put up in moderation. However, processed foods like junk food items, sugar and sugar products, white bread, and refined grains are put under restriction by the Mediterranean.
Q. What kind of bread can you eat on the Mediterranean diet?
Ans. In the Mediterranean diet, white bread is not allowed to eat. However, you can eat whole grains and bread freely in this diet. This is because whole grains, bread, or pasta are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and other nutrients, and they have lower calories than other bread. So, they are always a healthier option for diet-conscious people.
Q. What is the Mediterranean diet?
Ans. The Mediterranean diet is a food habit or diet that the Mediterranean people (people who reside in countries bordering the Mediterranean sea) follow. This eating habit is originally that of the Mediterranean people of the 1960s and mainly includes the cuisines of some Mediterranean countries like Greece, France, Spain, Italy, etc.
However, recently, most people throughout the world are looking towards following this diet as scientific research has confirmed it to be a healthy diet for all human beings. Moreover, it has many positive sides as this diet has been proven to be beneficial for preventing heart-related ailments, improving brain functions and sleeping problems, etc.