The Mediterranean diet to lose weight, care for heart health and feel good became a model a few decades ago. However, … it was practiced for thousands of years by the inhabitants of the Mediterranean Sea region! In fact, it was found that the Mediterranean lived longer and had fewer chronic diseases than the inhabitants of other regions (and especially the Americans). The reason? A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, dried fruits, few red meats and basically … olive oil.
Components of the Mediterranean Diet
To begin, let’s say that the Mediterranean diet is characterized by being low in fat and sodium, but that there is not a single Mediterranean diet but, in each region, or each person can adapt it to their preferences. However, there are some guidelines that must be followed for the Mediterranean diet to demonstrate its virtues:
- Vegetables (fruits and vegetables): constitute the bulk of the diet, along with whole grains, dried fruits and legumes. Food should be minimally processed and seasonal products should be preferred to take advantage of their micronutrients.
- Fats: healthy, consisting of olive oil (fundamental) or canola and fats from nuts and fish. Avoid butter. A simple piece of whole grain bread sprinkled with olive oil becomes a delicate appetizer.
- Condiments: use natural herbs and avoid salt.
- Fish: once or twice a week, baked, grilled or roasted.
- Red and white meats: small portions.
- Red wine: along with olive oil, it is another pillars of the diet. Consume the recommended amount for men and women.
- Proportions: keep the ratio between vegetables and meats (the base is vegetables and the accompaniment is meats, unlike in the Western diet).
“If you adopt this diet, you will not only control your weight but you will feel much better because it is considered that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest on the planet”.
In fact, the western diet, rich in fats, refined carbohydrates and red meat, has done nothing more than generate and increase the epidemic of overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
Mediterranean Diet, Much More Than Food
Actually, the so-called Mediterranean diet tries to reflect, rather than a set of food dishes, a lifestyle. In fact, what has allowed the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, with their apparently poor diet, to live longer and stay healthier. But these benefits have also been supported by other values, such as sharing meals with others and enjoying eating healthy and tasty foods. For these reasons, the Mediterranean Diet has been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. “The healthy diet provided by the Mediterranean Diet is perfectly compatible with the pleasure of tasting tasty dishes.” This is demonstrated by the Pyramid of the Mediterranean Diet, modified in 2008 from new findings as explained by the Mediterranean Foundation, dedicated to promoting the Mediterranean diet.
How to Adapt the Mediterranean Diet to Lose Weight
For the Mediterranean slimming diet to take effect, low-calorie versions of each food must be incorporated for each serving and exercise. Well, as we have said many times, to lose weight you must consume more calories than you eat with food. However, although the calorie count is very important, this diet to lose weight asks you not to obsess over calories, since its other components are the enjoyment of food and the pleasure of eating healthy and healthy. To adapt the Mediterranean diet to lose weight, you must include as much as possible of the elements that make it up, such as grains, fruits and vegetables in all meals. These foods are a source of fiber and help control weight. The grains should be whole and the vegetables should be sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil, which is the one that preserves the greatest amount of nutrients and healthy fats. Consume fresh fruits and juices of whole fruits and vegetables.
- Meats: prefers fish to red and white meat and within these tuna, herring, sardines and salmon are the richest in essential acids that protect the cardiovascular system. Crustaceans and seafood should be consumed fresh and with minimal cooking.
- Dairy: include the diet in moderate to low amounts. It prefers low-fat dairy products.
- Dried fruits, legumes and seeds: they contribute flavor, texture and healthy fats to the Mediterranean diet. However, you should consume them in moderation.
- Herbs and spices: they provide natural flavor and nutrients, reduce the need to add fats when cooking and consuming less salt benefits the cardiovascular system.
- Breakfast: This diet considers breakfast as one of the most important meals. It should be composed of fruits in the form of whole pieces or natural juice, dairy and cereals and provide 25% of the energy that is needed daily. Not having breakfast increases the risk of obesity as well as other health problems.
Remember that this diet to lose weight, like other types of diet, is a wise and balanced combination of physical activity, leisure, eating with other people and enjoying food. If what you want or need is to control your weight, consult your doctor, establish what your appropriate weight is and if you are above that range, simply decrease the portions and increase the amount of exercise.