According to many experts, if you want to lead a happier and healthier lifestyle, we encourage you to switch to the Mediterranean diet, one of the world's most nutritious diets. Its status of Unesco's "intangible" cultural heritage speaks enough for itself.
What makes the Mediterranean diet unique?
The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, cereals, fruit, fish, extra virgin olive oil and wine. Not an exaggeration, but many kinds of scientific research confirmed, this way of eating may help you live longer, protect your brain and even improve mood. The Mediterranean diet can also protect you and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases like diabetes type 2, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, and certain cancers.
Enjoy life, live longer, eat better and healthier!
Here are some suggestions and basic guidelines on how to get started with the Mediterranean diet.
Physical activities and socializing
- Try to be physically active and exercise daily. We cannot recommend enough online sports sessions with Sporty Delight if you need extra motivation and support.
- Make a meal a social experience by cooking and sharing meals with others.
- Switch off screens and connect over a meal.
- Regular and healthy family meals are a great way to boost mood, relieve stress, comfort kids, and monitor their eating habits.
- Use daily good fats such as good extra virgin olive oil, nuts, olives, avocados.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the Mediterranean diet's central fat; used for all cooking needs, including roasting, sautéing, and baking. And, yes, you can cook with extra virgin olive oil; it is entirely safe. Recent research has confirmed that extra virgin olive oil is the best and the most stable oil for cooking.
- Your main meals should be around plant sources (vegetables, nuts, grains).
- Try to eat minimally processed food.
- Bread choice should be preferably wholegrain.
Typical Mediterranean herbs
Include typical Mediterranean spices and herbs such as oregano, basil, parsley, dill, sage, thyme, mint, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, and salt in your cooking.
- Always have in your kitchen canned tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, vinegar, different olive oils, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, honey, as they are part of many recipes.
- To help you feel full and energetic for hours, always eat breakfast rich in fruits, whole grains and other fibre-rich foods.
- Eat lots of vegetables.
- Cook uncomplicated dishes, for example, soups, salads and crudités; they are a great start.
- Ideally, eat seasonal and, if you can, local vegetables.
- If you are not into vegetables, start with a vegetarian meal one night a week.
- Typical vegetables in the Mediterranean diet are peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onion, garlic, green bean, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, beetroot, celery, various greens.
- It would be best if you always seasoned with the best quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Eat fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert — again option for local and seasonal fruit.
- Citric fruits play an essential role in the Mediterranean diet. They are also acting as an antioxidant, especially in winters.
Dairy and eggs
- Enjoy dairy products in moderation.
- Try to choose unprocessed cheeses and opt for plain or Greek yoghurt.
- Typical dairy products when eating Mediterranean way are feta cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, sheep cheese. In the traditional Mediterranean diet, these products are full fat.
- Eat from zero to four eggs per week.
- Weekly, consume low to moderate amounts of fish.
- Try to eat seafood twice a week, especially those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, black cod).
Meat and poultry
- Meat or poultry is a side dish, and you shouldn't consume them daily.
- Try to eat red meat once a week, as well as poultry.
- If you are a meat-eater, try to be selective with meats - limit your red meats intake (1-2 servings per week) and white meats (2-3 servings per week).
- The authentic Mediterranean Diet is a moderate carbohydrate diet (about 40% carbohydrates).
- Just because the Mediterranean diet is one of the world's healthiest diets doesn't mean dessert is off the menu. Enjoy sweet guilty pleasures in moderation — option for natural sweets like honey, traditional jams without any additives and homemade desserts. You can find easy inspirative dessert recipes on our blog.
- Wine is part of the Mediterranean diet and its lifestyle. As stated by much scientific research (and us), we encourage you to drink a glass or two of red wine per day combined with other foods in your diet.
- Red wines tend to have higher amounts of antioxidants than other alcohols, with less sugar.
Enjoy this interesting TEDx talk by Elena Paravantes.
- M. A. Martínez-González, A. Gea, M. Ruiz-Canela, The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health, AHA Journals, 2019
- Keys A. Mediterranean diet and public health: personal reflections.1995
- Old Ways, A Food And Nutrition Nonprofit, 2019
- Elena Paravantes, TEDxHeraklion (February 2014). Mediterranean diet, our legacy, our future.
- Explore numerous scientific and medical research on the Mediterranean diet and olive oils on ScienceDirect.