A Mediterranean diet is recommended by many physicians and dietitians to prevent illness and keep people safe.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are emphasized in the Mediterranean diet, and it contains less dairy and meat than a traditional Western diet.
We define what the Mediterranean diet is in this article and include a 7-day meal plan for people to follow.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Essentially, adopting a Mediterranean diet involves eating in the way that people have historically eaten in the Mediterranean region.
A typical Mediterranean diet consists of a generous amount of fresh produce, whole grains and legumes, as well as some healthy fats and fish.
The diet’s general recommendations suggest that people eat:
- A broad range of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
- Fats that are safe, such as nuts, peas, and olive oil,
- Moderate quantities of milk and fish
- A minimal amount of white meat and red meat
- Little Eggs
- In moderation, red wine
The American Heart Association states that a high proportion of fat calories are found in the average Mediterranean diet.
Since more than half of the fat calories come from monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, the diet may not be suitable for those who need to restrict their fat consumption.
Constructing a meal schedule
The Mediterranean diet places a greater emphasis on plant foods than other diets. It isn’t unusual for fruits, whole grains, and legumes to make up all or much of a meal.
Usually, those who adopt the diet cook these foods with healthy fats, such as olive oil, and add plenty of tasty spices.
Small portions of fish, meat, or eggs may be included in meals. Common drink options are water and sparkling water, as well as moderate amounts of red wine.
Individuals on a Mediterranean diet avoid the following foods:
- Refined grains that include white bread, white pasta, and white flour pizza dough
- Refined oils such as soybean oil and canola oil
- Sugar-added foods, such as pastries, sodas, and candy
- Deli meats, hot dogs, and other meats that have been processed
- Food manufactured or packed
7-day meal plan
Here is an instance of a Mediterranean diet meal plan for seven days:
- A pan of fried egg
- Grilled tomatoes
- Whole-wheat toast
For extra calories, add more egg or some chopped avocado to the toast.
- 2 cups of mixed salad greens together with cherry tomatoes and olives on top and a condiment of olive oil & vinegar
- 2 ounces (oz) of hummus
- Whole-grain pita bread
- Whole-grain pizza along with tomato sauce, grilled vegetables, and low-fat cheese as toppings
For additional calories, add some shredded chicken, tuna, ham, or pine nuts to the pizza.
- A cup of Greek yoghurt
- 1/2 cup of fruits, like raspberries, blueberries, or chopped nectarines
For more calories, add 1 – 2 oz of almonds or walnuts.
- Whole-grain sandwich together with grilled vegetables that include zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, and onion
To boost the calorie content, add hummus or avocado to the bread before including the fillings.
- A portion of baked cod or salmon along with garlic and black pepper to add taste
- One toasted potato together with olive oil and chives
- 1 cup of whole-grain oats along with cinnamon, dates, and honey
- Top with low-sugar fruits like raspberries
- 1 oz of shredded almonds (which is optional)
- Boiled white beans along with seasonings like laurel, garlic, and cumin
- A cup of arugula with an olive oil condiment and toppings of tomato, feta cheese, and cucumber
- 1/2 cup of whole-grain pasta together with tomato sauce, grilled vegetables, and olive oil
- One tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
- Two scrambled eggs with onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes
- Top with one ounce of queso fresco or 1/4 portion of an avocado
- Roasted anchovies dipped in olive oil on whole-grain toast along with a sprinkling of lemon juice
- A warm salad containing two cups of steamed kale and tomatoes
- Two cups of steamed spinach together with a sprinkling of lemon juice and herbs
- One simmered artichoke with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder
Add another artichoke for a hearty and satisfying meal.
- A cup of Greek yoghurt with honey and cinnamon on top
- Blend in some sliced apple and shredded almonds
- A cup of quinoa along with bell peppers, tomatoes, sun-dried, and olives
- Toasted garbanzo beans with oregano and thyme
- Top with feta cheese crumbles or avocado (this is optional)
- Two cups of steamed kale along with lemon juice, tomato, olives, cucumber, and Parmesan cheese
- One portion of grilled sardines with a slice of lemon
- Two portions of whole-grain toast with a soft cheese like queso fresco, ricotta, or goat cheese
- Add some chopped blueberries or figs for sweetness
- Two cups of mixed greens with cucumber and tomato
- A tiny portion of roasted chicken with a sprinkling of lemon juice and olive oil
Oven-roasted vegetables, such as:
- Sweet potato
Add olive oil and heavy herbs before roasting along with a cup of whole-grain couscous.
- Whole-grain oats together with cinnamon dates and maple syrup
- After that eat low-sugar fruits like raspberries or blackberries
- Stewed zucchini, onion, yellow squash, and potato in a tomato and herb sauce
- Two cups of greens, such as arugula or spinach, with olives, tomato, and olive oil
- Leftover vegetable stew from lunch
- A small portion of white fish
There are several snack choices available as part of the Mediterranean diet. Snacks that are appropriate include:
- A tiny serving of nuts
- Whole fruits, including plums, oranges, and grapes
- Dried fruits, such as apricots and figs
- A tiny portion of yoghurt
- Hummus with celery, carrots, or other herbs
- Avocado with whole-grain toast
The Mediterranean diet gets more attention from the medical world because several studies confirm its advantages.
The advantages of a Mediterranean diet include:
Reducing the risk of heart disease
Evidence indicates that a Mediterranean diet may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. A research conducted in The New England Journal of Medicine compared two Mediterranean diets for nearly five years with a control diet.
The study indicated that, relative to the control group, the diet decreased the risk of cardiovascular complications, including stroke, heart attack, and death, by around 30 per cent.
Further studies are required to establish whether lifestyle factors in Mediterranean countries, such as increased physical activity and expanded social support networks, are partly responsible for the lower incidence of heart disease than in the United States.
Enhancing the quality of sleep
Researchers investigated how the Mediterranean diet impacts sleep in a 2018 review. Their study indicated that adhering to a Mediterranean diet in older adults may enhance the quality of sleep. In younger people, the diet did not seem to affect their sleep quality.
The loss of weight
For those who are trying to lose weight, the Mediterranean diet can also be useful. The authors of a 2016 study noted that on the Mediterranean diet, people who were overweight or had obesity lost more weight than on a low-fat diet.
The Mediterranean diet community obtained results that were comparable to those of the participants on other traditional weight-loss diets.
Long-term, healthy dietary modifications include maintaining a Mediterranean diet. An individual should, generally, opt for a diet rich in organic foods, including plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Anyone who observes that the diet does not feel satisfying should consult with a nutritionist. They may prescribe additional or substitute foods in order to help improve satiety.
- Our guide to the Mediterranean diet – MedicalNewsToday