Health

7 staple foods of the Mediterranean diet that we should all be eating

7 staple foods of the Mediterranean diet that we should all be eating
Written by admin_3fxxacau

The Mediterranean diet is a flexible way of eating that emphasizes healthy plant foods, limits heavily processed foods, such as sweets and processed meats, and embraces the pleasure of eating. Hundreds of studies point to the health benefits of eating this way. In honor of International Mediterranean Diet Month, here are the best things to eat that day. top notch diet.

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Before we dive into the foods eaten in the Mediterranean region, let’s discuss why this way of eating is so healthy. Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet may protect against strokes and heart attacks, memory decline, type 2 diabetes and depression. It is also associated with a longer life expectancy. In addition to all these benefits, the Mediterranean diet is linked to healthier body weight.

The reason the Mediterranean diet is so helpful is that it focuses on plant foods. These foods contain fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that cause most health problems. In a nutshell, substances found in plants limit inflammation, promote a diverse and healthy gut environment, and fight free radical damage that contributes to oxidative stress.

RELATED: 7-Day Mediterranean Diet Plan to Help Boost Your Metabolism and Energy

Here are some of the stars staple foods of the Mediterranean diet to thank for these awesome health benefits:

extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil, EVOO, is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet. EVOO is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. When there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals, it leads to oxidative stress and promotes various diseases. But, a diet high in antioxidants, such as those found in EVOO and other plant foods, may protect against this occurrence. EVOO compounds also have a positive effect on gut health.

To eat like the Mediterraneans, make EVOO your go-to cooking oil. Cook your vegetables in it and use it as a condiment on salads, pasta and bread. To maintain the health properties of EVOO, buy oil before the expiration date and store it in a cool, dark place. Make sure your EVOO is in a dark bottle as light can diminish the quality.

Fruits and vegetables

You are probably aware of the fact that fruits and vegetables are nutritional superstars, which is why these nuggets are the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. At mealtimes, Mediterranean eaters fill most of the plate with produce. In the Mediterranean region, fruit is eaten several times a day and can feature in desserts (think berries marinated in balsamic vinegar or Poached pears with yogurt sauce).

When it comes to veggies, forget about limp salads or skimpy portions on the side of your plate. These foods take center stage in fancy salads and vegetable-heavy pasta dishes, grain salads, soups and stews.

Fish

Fish is one of the main sources of animal protein in the Mediterranean diet and is eaten at least twice a week, which is in line with recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association. According to a landmark study, this amount reduces your chances of dying from heart disease by 36%. Another study found that people who eat fish often live an average of 2.2 years longer than those who don’t. Additionally, evidence suggests that fish eaters have a lower risk of depression more better brain health and thinking skills as they age.

If fish is not a regular part of your menu, consider eating it with familiar foods. For example, add smoked salmon to scrambled eggs, make fish tacos and add shrimp to your favorite stir-fry.

Nuts

Nuts are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, and each variety has unique superpowers. For example, among nuts, almonds are the highest in vitamin E, Brazil nuts are the highest in magnesium, and walnuts are the only nut that contains an excellent source of plant-based omega 3 ALA. These vegetable fats are cousins ​​of omega-3 fish and offer powerful anti-inflammatory protection. A 2022 study review found that plant-based ALAs can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The study authors also report promising evidence that ALAs can counteract age-related cognitive impairment and protect against type 2 diabetes. And, they say, the benefits are associated with about ½ ounce of nuts per day, although the Mediterranean diet calls for up to two 1-ounce servings of various nuts per day. You can easily achieve this amount by adding nuts and seeds (such as chia, pumpkin, and sesame seeds) to stir fries, baked goods, fruit dishes, and trail mixes.

Legumes

Legumes include beans, lentils, and chickpeas, and they’re packed with health-boosting nutrients. Eating these foods often promotes better heart health, gut health, longevity, and a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

In keeping with Mediterranean tradition, try eating legumes instead of meat at certain meals. One strategy is to use them in savory dishes that usually call for meat, such as burgers, Chili and tomato sauce. In the Mediterranean diet, legumes are eaten at least twice a week, but it’s easy to incorporate them into any meal or snack. Blend white beans into a smoothie or add to sautéed vegetables, snack grilled chickpeas or hummus, and add beans to soups, salads, grainy side dishes and pastas.

Whole grains

Usually one to two servings of whole grains are eaten with every Mediterranean meal. Evidence suggests that eating whole grains as part of the Mediterranean diet may reduce your risk of heart disease and death from heart disease, as well as your risk of type 2 diabetes. study 2022, the fiber in whole grains is especially protective against disease-promoting inflammation. Note, however, that portion sizes may be smaller than the standard American diet. In 2019, Italian scientists came up with an updated Mediterranean food pyramid, calling for 90 to 180 grams of whole grain carbs per day, which translates to one to two cups of whole grains at each meal. The rest of the plate is filled with vegetables and other plant foods, such as nuts and legumes.

Pasta

Pasta deserves special attention because it is part of Mediterranean cuisine, but it is also a refined cereal. Overall, refined grains are eaten less often in the Mediterranean diet, but when pasta is eaten, it is enjoyed alongside other staples of the Mediterranean diet, such as vegetables, legumes, and EVOO. Or it can be added to soup or eaten with a serving of fish or shellfish. Also, portions may be smaller than you are used to. However, when eaten in this way with healthy foods, pasta can help you get more of the protective nutrients in your diet.

4 easy ways to start the Mediterranean diet

The only things you need to start the Mediterranean diet are a well-stocked kitchen and a willingness to try. Here are some other tips for adopting this lifestyle:

● Aim to fill your plate to 75% plant foods. The rest of your plate can include fish, poultry or eggs, if desired.

Reduce your consumption of red meat, heavily processed foods and sweets. This includes ultra-processed refined grains.

● Take the time to sit down and enjoy your meals.

● Don’t worry about foods inherent in the Mediterranean region. The plant emphasis of the Mediterranean diet can be extended to suit other cuisines. Start with the plant foods your family enjoys and go from there.

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