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Mediterranean Diet: what is it and how to do it

The Mediterranean diet, also called the diet of the Mediterranean, is based on the consumption of fresh and natural foods such as olive oil, fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk and cheese, avoiding industrialized products like sausage, frozen foods and cakes.

This diet  provokes a change in lifestyle, and does not always need to be low in calories to help you lose weight because it naturally improves metabolism and promotes weight control.

How to do it

To do the Mediterranean diet, you must change your diet as follows:

Mediterranean Diet: what is it and how to do it

1. Avoid industrialized products

The foods should be mostly composed of natural products, mainly of vegetable origin, such as olive oil, brown rice, soy, eggs and milk. In addition, you should avoid ready made foods, such as cookies and cakes, preferring homemade versions.

Removing industrialized products from your diet will help to decrease the production of toxins in the body, reduce inflammation and fight fluid retention, naturally helping to decrease swelling.

2. Consume fish and seafood

You should consume fish or seafood at least 2 times a week as they are sources of good proteins and healthy fats, such as omega-3, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve joint pain, improves blood circulation and prevents heart disease. See all the benefits of Omega 3.

3. Olive oil and healthy fats

Olive oil and vegetable oils like canola and linseed are rich in good fats that are great for the heart, helping to control cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

To take advantage of it's benefits, add olive oil after the food is cooked, consuming a maximum of 2 tablespoons a day. Olive oil should also be used for cooking, doing saute and grilling meats or fish. Sunflower oil is rarely used. 

4. Whole grain Foods

The Mediterranean diet is rich in wholegrain foods like rice, flour, oats and noodles, which are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals that improve the body's function, fighting constipation and decreasing the absorption of sugars and fats in the intestine.

In addition to the grains, the diet should also be rich in protein vegetables such as beans, soybeans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds which also help to strengthen the muscles and improve the metabolism rate.

Mediterranean Diet: what is it and how to do it

5. Fruits and vegetables

Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables is an important point of this diet as they will provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential to your metabolism, and bring you a feeling of satiety, helping in weight loss. It is recommended you eat at least 3 different fruits a day, a good habit is after each meal eat 1 fruit, whether it is at breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner.

See recipes for 7 Detox juices that can help to lose belly fat.

6. Milk and skimmed milk products

To improve your diet and reduce fat consumption, you should prefer to use skimmed milk, natural yogurt and white cheeses, such as ricotta and cottage, or choose light versions of the products. If you want to sweeten your natural yogurt you can add 1 teaspoon of honey or homemade jam.

7. Protein sources

Red meat should be from lean cuts, where the fat is not observed, and is restricted to only 1 consumption a week, so there is room for meals with eggs, fish and mixtures of grains which are also good sources of protein, such as rice + beans, rice + lentils or rice + peas.

8. Beverages

The drink most indicated to quench your thirst and to accompany your meals is water, so you can choose to flavor your water by adding lemon or ginger slices. In addition, 1 glass of wine a day (180 ml) is allowed, especially after dinner.

Menu of the Mediterranean Diet

Below, is a 3-day example of a Mediterranean diet menu:

MealDay 1Day 2Day 3
Breakfast1 glass of skimmed milk + 1 slice of whole grain bread with ricotta + 1 slice of papayaBanana and apple vitamin done with skimmed milk + 2 tablespoons of oatsOat porridge done with 200 ml of skimmed milk + 2 tablespoons of oats + 1 tablespoon of powered cocoa
Morning snack3 whole grain toast+ butter + 2 chestnuts1 glass of green juice made with cabbage, lemon and carrot + 3 maize biscuits1 natural yogurt + 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
Lunchhalf a serving of grilled salmon + 2 boiled potatoes with olive oil and broccoli1 grilled chicken steak with tomato sauce + 4 tablespoons brown rice + 2 tablespoons of beansMacaroni with tuna and pesto sauce, you should use whole grain macaroni
Afternoon snack1 natural yogurt + 1 teaspoon flaxseed + 1 tapioca with light cheese + 1 banana1 natural yogurt + 1 brown bread with cottage cheese + 6 strawberries1 glass of beet, carrot, ginger, lemon and apple juice + 1 whole grain bread with ricotta cheese
Dinner1 cooked chicken leg with 2 tablespoons of peas + curly lettuce, tomato and purple onion salad + 1 pear1 grilled turkey steak + cabbage salad, grated carrots and grated beets + 1 slice of pineapple1 omelet made with 2 eggs + braised cabbage salad with onion, garlic and eggplant + 1 orange

Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet is not only a diet for weight loss, but is a lifestyle, usually present in countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Its main health benefits are:

  • Lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and degenerative diseases;
  • Protects the body from atherosclerosis and thrombosis;
  • It is a more economical;
  • It has more nutrients than industrialized foods, providing more nutrients to the body;
  • Helps to vary food more, being good for the taste buds of children, making it easier for them to eat vegetables, greens and salads.

To really follow the Mediterranean diet as a lifestyle you should consume fresh, low-processed, seasonal and local foods of vegetable origin, preferring to buy them in small markets and grocery stores, than in large supermarkets.

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