The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been studied on a global scale and are praised for being one of the golden standards in preventative medicine. With this diet being largely known for its association with increased heart health, brain health, longevity, and more, the benefits simply do not stop there. It also helps bone health, weight loss, diabetes, even some cancers.
While the Mediterranean diet is indeed called a diet, despite its name, it’s more of a lifestyle choice rather than a strict set of rules. The main tenets include consuming mostly plant-based food, having strong social networks, eating with your family, alleviating stress, and all while staying physically active.
While the Mediterranean diet is heavily focused on plants, which are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, it is also naturally abundant in heart-healthy fats such as omega-3, which are shown to improve the body’s inflammatory response and benefit the health of the brain.
Not only that, but the Mediterranean diet also focuses a lot on how you eat, even more so than what you eat. It carries this strong emphasis on bringing the joy back into preparing, cooking, and eating food mindfully, with a lifestyle that encourages meals to be eaten slowly and mindfully. This aspect of this diet is one of the biggest contributors to its association with living a longer life.
Given the list of benefits to this diet is as long as it gets, the Mediterranean diet is definitely one worth considering as a long-term, sustainable option for improving your health and well-being.
SO WHAT FOODS ARE INCLUDED?
The Mediterranean diet is often associated with cultural diets common in Italy, Spain and Greece. It basically emphasizes eating lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole grains. It also includes the free and liberal use of olive oil, as well as a moderate amount of dairy. But very little red meat.
Today, we’ve compiled a list you can use to experiment – there are also countless recipes online you can play around with, or discover your own combination of ingredients.
If you’re looking for specific ideas, some include whipping up a pot of minestrone for lunch or dinner, or trying out sautéing mushrooms, onion, and spinach in olive oil, folded into scrambled eggs with herbs! That’s like a Mediterranean take on a frittata. You also have red lentils with hummus with chopped veggies, another staple.
Including cabbage, celery, carrots, cucumber, collard greens, broccoli, beets and beet greens, bell peppers, arugula, artichoke, asparagus, spinach, scallions, onions, radishes, olivers, mustart greens, mushrooms, leeks, lemon, kale, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and squash.
Peaches, pomegranates, figs, grapes, dates, berries, apples, apricots, citrus fruits, and avocado.
Such as cilantro, mint, rosemary, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, and thyme.
SEEDS AND NUTS
Healthy options include walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, Flaxseed, and more.
Lima beans, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), black-eyed peas.
Wild-caught salmon, shrimp, mackerel, mussels, fresh clams, fresh tuna, as well as different canned fish varieties such as anchovies, clams, sardines, salmon, and tuna.)
When it comes to cheese, we have Ricotta cheese, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Manchego cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and Feta cheese, as well as plain Greek yogurt for another healthy dairy variety.
Quinoa, polenta, farro, barley, bulgur, whole-grain couscous, whole-grain pasta.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS…
The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than it is a diet, a lifestyle of mindfulness in eating and dietary options that are revolved around plants, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.
And with this aim toward whole grains, fruits and veggies, legumes, and other healthy options, it has been associated with a wide list of benefits to overall health and well-being. It also recommends being active, enjoying your meals out together with your friends and family, and it’s a major contributor to the improvement of total longevity.
Needless the say, you should stock up on the foods listed in this grocery list and try to use them in creative and delicious recipes. Your diet and your health will thank you for it.