Can you lose weight with a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional foods that people eat in countries like Italy and Greece in the 1960s. Researchers noted that these people were in good health compared to Americans and that 'they were at lower risk of many lifestyle-related illnesses...
Several studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can lead to weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and premature death.
There is no one right way to follow the Mediterranean diet, as there are many countries around the Mediterranean, and people in each can eat different foods. Here we are going to learn more about the Mediterranean diet.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
- The Mediterranean diet includes fresh produce and healthy fats and oils. Essentially, a Mediterranean diet means eating the way Mediterranean people traditionally eat.
- The traditional Mediterranean diet includes a large portion of fresh produce, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and fish.
- The general guidelines for this diet recommend that people eat: a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and olive oil, moderate amounts of dairy products and fish, very little white and red meat, and very few eggs.
- The American Heart Association notes that the Mediterranean diet is high in calories from fat. Although more than half of the calories from fat come from monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, the diet may not be suitable for people who need to reduce their fat intake.
Mediterranean diet rules
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a few basic rules, which must be observed if you decide to follow this diet, namely:
- Eat mostly plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
- Replace butter with healthy fats like olive oil.
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to foods.
- Limit red meat, which should not be eaten several times a month.
- Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week.
- Enjoy meals with family and friends.
- Get plenty of exercise and exercise regularly.
The Mediterranean diet and healthy fats
The Mediterranean diet aims to reduce overall fat intake. Still, to make intelligent choices about the types of fats you eat, the Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils that contribute to heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet includes olive oil as the primary source of fat. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, a type of fat that can help lower LDL cholesterol instead of saturated or unsaturated fats.
Extra virgin olive oil also contains the highest levels of protective plant compounds that provide an antioxidant effect, omega-3 fatty acids obtained from fish are associated with lowering triglyceride levels, reducing blood clotting, reducing sudden heart attacks, improving blood vessel health, and helping to lower blood pressure.
What should you eat during this diet?
If you choose the Mediterranean diet, you should know some basics about what foods you eat and what foods you should avoid.
Through this diet, could eat some foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, potatoes, and whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil, and moderate intake of poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt, and you will limit your intake of red meat.
Although the control of foods belonging to the Mediterranean diet is controversial partly because there are some differences between the nourishment of the Mediterranean countries, the diet that has been stabilized and studied in most studies is rich in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal foods.
However, it is recommended to eat fish and seafood at least twice a week; the lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet also includes regular physical activity.
In the Mediterranean diet, you should base your diet on:
- Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, plums, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, legumes, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
- Whole grains: whole oats, brown rice, barley, corn, whole wheat, whole grain bread.
- Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, shellfish, etc.
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
- Eggs: chicken, quail, and duck eggs.
- Dairy products: cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.
- Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
- Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, avocado, and avocado oil.
What should you not eat?
This diet should completely abandon: sugar-sweetened drinks, added sugar, processed meat, refined cereals, refined oils, and other processed foods.
These unhealthy foods and ingredients should be avoided:
- Added sugar: soda, sweets, ice cream, and much more.
- Refined cereals: white bread, pasta from refined wheat, etc.
- Unsaturated fats, which are contained in margarine and processed foods, are different.
- Refined oils such as soybean oil and cottonseed oil, etc.
- Processed meats: such as hamburgers and hot dogs.
- You should read food labels carefully to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
- Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease; this diet has been associated with a lower content of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) / lousy cholesterol (LDL), which probably leads to the accumulation of sediment in the arteries.
- A meta-analysis, an analytical methodology for systematically evaluating and summarizing the results of several individual studies that led to an increase in the studied sample size of more than 1.5 million healthy adults, has shown that a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of cardiac death, as well as all-cause mortality.
- The Mediterranean diet is also associated with reduced cancer, Parkinson's Disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
- For these reasons, most major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adjust their eating styles to prevent serious chronic diseases.
- A 2013 study by the University of Barcelona also showed the link between the Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health.
- The study relied on more than 7,000 Hispanic participants, many overweight or smokers, or diabetics. Still, their Mediterranean-style diet has been rich in healthy fats such as olive oil or nuts for almost five years.
- After extensive follow-up, the researchers completed the study early, after observing a sharp improvement in the participants' health, and the results showed an absolute reduction in health risks and a 30% reduction in cardiovascular diseases in these at-risk individuals.
- The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are clear from a medical point of view. Although weight loss is not the primary intention of this diet, it occurs spontaneously after eating more plant foods and reducing sugar and red meat.
- The high content of fiber, many whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes included in the Mediterranean diet will help you feel full longer and reduce the likelihood of overeating, allowing you to get additional benefits such as digestive health and effective health management of the situation.
- The Mediterranean diet can also be beneficial for people with type II diabetes by helping to lower blood sugar levels while promoting good HDL cholesterol.
Disadvantages of this system
- Few negatives threaten a Mediterranean diet, because basically, it is about eating healthy foods in moderation, one of the few negative aspects that some face is that they forget that exercise and social aspects make a significant contribution to making the Mediterranean population healthy, it is undoubtedly that the lifestyle of the entire Mediterranean countries is essential.
- Those who want to follow this system should take a closer look at this, engage in physical activity, share meals with other people and enjoy life.
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