Ten Basic Aspects for Starting a Mediterranean Diet

June 16, 2019
If you want to change your eating habits, then take advantage of a Mediterranean diet. Don't miss out on reading this article. Here you will discover the foundation of this diet.

Have you heard about the many benefits of a Mediterranean diet?

Without a doubt, this cultural heritage passes on healthy eating habits that are beneficial for all of us.  Plus, this cuisine is famous in countries all over the world and has taken first place for the healthiest overall diet in the world.

If you’re determined to change your eating habits, then keep reading and find out about the basics of the Mediterranean diet.

The Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diet
Several studies have highlighted the potential benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet has become one of the most famous diets in the world. This is especially due to its broad health benefits.

Below, you can take a look at the main benefits:

1. Following a Mediterranean diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

A study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded that women who that are on a Mediterranean diet have a 25 % less chance of cardiovascular risk for 12 years.

These habits are associated with a lower level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).

2. The Mediterranean diet can help promote greater longevity.

According to data obtained from an investigation conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School, these eating habits have been associated with greater longevity.

3. This diet could help prevent cognitive decline.

A 2015 survey indicates that people who follow a Mediterranean diet show an improvement in their cognitive functions.

Other research found that good eating habits could slow down some of the changes that take place in the brain during the early development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

4. The Mediterranean diet could help protect you from cancer.

In 2017, researchers found evidence that shows that the high adherence in this diet may decrease the chance of cancer, specifically colo-rectal cancer.

Also, they noted a slight decrease in the incidence of breast cancer.

How Should You Start a Mediterranean diet?

The first step to starting a Mediterranean diet is knowing its foundation, i.e. the foods that make up this diet and make it one of the healthiest diets in the world.

See what they are below:

1. Olive oil as the preferred fat.

Someone pouring olive oil on a bowl that has olives and it's leaves next to it.

Olive oil makes the Meditteranean diet rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It’s used to flavor salads, for frying, for spreading on toast and anything that might need some type of fat such as a dressing or to be used to cook with!

If you start a Mediterranean diet, don’t use butter and use olive oil instead.

Read: Protect Your Respiratory System with this Oregano and Olive Oil Remedy

2. Daily consumption of foods that come from a plant origin.

Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts are consumed on a daily basis and they are packed with minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. In fact, according to the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, each main course should have:

  • 1-2 fruits
  • More than 2 servings of natural or cooked vegetables. Preferably, there should be at least one raw portion on a daily basis.

3. Daily intake of grains.

It’s recommended that one or two servings of grains, whole grains, preferably in the form of rice, pasta, bread, couscous or other varieties should be added to every meal.

The carbohydrates that come from these foods provide the energy that’s needed to go through the day.

4. Choose fresh and seasonal foods.

Buying seasonal foods is good for your health and your pocket.

Buying and consuming seasonal, local food allows you to take advantage of its nutrients, taste, and aroma. Choose less processed foods and resort to seasonal foods. It’s a healthy measure that’s also environmentally friendly.

5. Moderate your consumption of red meat.

Due to the health problems that come from animal fat, it’s advisable to consume processed and red meats moderately. The Mediterranean diet is low saturated fats.

6. Opt for a healthy daily consumption of dairy products.

Daily consumption of yogurts and cheeses are part of the Mediterranean diet. They’re a source of essential minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, vitamins, and proteins with a high biological value.

7. Eat fish twice a week and eggs three or four times a week.

Fried fish
Reduce your consumption of red meat and increases your intake of fish and eggs.

In order to start your Mediterranean diet, it’s important that you reduce your intake of red meat and instead eat fish because it’s a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Also make sure to eat eggs, because they’re a great source of protein.

8. Keep a very low consumption of pastries and sweets.

This doesn’t mean you should completely get rid of pastries in your diet. However, remember that you should eat them very moderately. In fact, it’s recommended to have less than two servings per week.

Check out this article, too: The Benefits of Freezing Fresh Herbs with Olive Oil

9. Opt for water.

Water is a fundamental pillar of the Mediterranean diet and should be your beverage of preference. Wine is also part of this diet, but is only healthy when it’s consumed in moderation.

10. Get plenty of physical exercise.

A good diet is not the only thing that you should do in order to be healthy. Don’t forget to do exercise on a regular and daily basis in order to benefit from this healthy diet.

As you can see, starting your Mediterranean diet involves a series of changes in your habits. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about this diet. He or she will guide you through the entire process and will be able to help you create a menu based on your energy and nutritional needs.

  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2018). Mediterranean and DASH Tie for Top Spot in Recent Ranking. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2018/01/19/mediterranean-dash-diets-top-ranking/
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2018). In women, Mediterranean diet may lower risk of cardiovascular disease. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/mediterranean-diet-cardiovascular-disease-women/
  • NCBI. (2015). Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline: A Randomized Clinical Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25961184
  • National Institute of Health. (2018). Mediterranean diet may slow development of Alzheimer’s disease. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/mediterranean-diet-may-slow-development-alzheimers-disease
  • NCBI. (2017). Adherence to Mediterranean Diet and Risk of Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5691680/
  • Fundación Dieta Mediterránea. ¿Qué es la dieta mediterránea? https://dietamediterranea.com/nutricion-saludable-ejercicio-fisico/