Essential steps to switch to the Mediterranean diet | Marqt.no

Essential steps to switch to the Mediterranean diet

June 04, 2020

Reading time: 2.5 min

If you would like to lead a happier and healthier lifestyle, we encourage you to switch to the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, cereals, fruit, fish, wine and olive oil. Its status of Unesco's "intangible" cultural heritage speaks enough for itself. 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. It can also protect you from many diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and certain kinds of cancers. 

Here are some suggestions and basic guidelines on how to get started with the Mediterranean diet.

Physical activities and socializing

  • Be physically active and exercise daily.
  • 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, provide comfort to kids and monitor their eating habits.

General

  • Daily use good fats such as extra virgin olive oils, nuts, olives, avocados.
  • Olive oil is the central fat of the Mediterranean diet; used for all cooking needs, including roasting, sautéing, and baking.
  • Your main meals should be around plant sources (vegetables, nuts, grains).
  • Food should be minimally processed.
  • Bread choice should be preferably wholegrain.

Typical Mediterranean herbs

  • Oregano, basil, parsley, dill, sage, thyme, mint, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and salt.

Pantry items

  • Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, vinegar, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, honey.

Breakfast

  • To help you feel full and energetic for hours, always eat breakfast rich in fruits, whole grains and other fibre-rich foods. 

Vegetables

  • Eat lots of vegetables. Lots. Simple.
  • Uncomplicated dishes, for example, soups, salads and crudités 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: peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onion, garlic, green bean, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, beetroot, celery, various greens.

Fruit

  • 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 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.

    Seafood

    • Weekly consume low to moderate amounts of fish.
    • Try to eat seafood twice a week, especially ones that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, black cod).

    Meat and poultry

    • Meat or poultry is a side dish and shouldn't be consumed daily.
    • Eat red meat once a week, as well as poultry.
    • If you are a meat-eater, try to be selective as possible with meats - limit your red meats intake (1-2 servings per week) and white meats (2-3 servings per week). 

    Carbohydrates

    • The authentic Mediterranean Diet is a moderate carbohydrate diet (about 40% carbohydrates).

    Desserts

    • Just because the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world 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

    • Wine is part of the Mediterranean diet. 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 life, eat better and healthier!

    Med diet pyramid

    An example of your Mediterranean groceries list

    Sources

    - 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.

     

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