The Top 10 Ingredients That Make a Mediterranean Diet

30 July, 2020
In this article, we'll tell you the top ingredients in the Mediterranean diet so that you can start on this delicious and healthy journey. Keep reading to discover them all!
 

The Mediterranean diet is famous throughout the world. Without a doubt, it’s one of the healthiest diets in the world. In fact, it has ranked first in the world ranking on several occasions! Today, we want to share with you the top 10 ingredients to make a Mediterranean diet.

Keep reading and discover in this article the main tips to carry out this balanced diet every day at home. You won’t regret it!

Top 10 ingredients to make a Mediterranean diet

If you want to change your eating habits and start the Mediterranean diet, find a pencil and paper, and take notes. Here, we’ll present the 10 bases of this cultural heritage:

1. Use olive oil as a base fat

Olive oil in a jar next to olives, an essential part of the Mediterranean diet.
Olive oil is one of the most important healthy fats because of its content of fatty acids and antioxidants.

Wherever you look, olive oil is the most widely used fat. Rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin E, it’s used for everything from dressing salads to frying.

Are you making toast? Don’t hesitate: a splash of olive oil may be just the thing you need. Are you planning to fry some potatoes? Or are you making a salad? Without a doubt, you should use olive oil over any other variety of oils and butter.

Don’t miss this: 6 Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

2. Eat fresh food every day!

The Mediterranean diet is based on the consumption of fresh and seasonal food. Therefore, you should buy vegetables and fruits that are in season throughout the year.

That way, you can take advantage of all their nutritional value and save money! If you also choose local food, you’ll make sure you get the best quality at the best price.

3. Steps to make a Mediterranean diet: Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal

Hand-in-hand with the previous point is this step to make a Mediterranean diet. Include vegetables and fruits in each of your meals. Thus, you’ll eat between 1 and 2 pieces of fruit a day and around 3 servings of vegetables a day.

How can you do it? Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Eat a piece of toast with tomato and olive oil and a piece of fruit on the side for breakfast.
  • Eat nuts as a mid-morning snack.
  • Have some pasta with sautéed vegetables for lunch and fruit for dessert.
  • Snack on yogurt with fruit or nuts, or a sandwich with avocado and ham.
  • For dinner, have baked fish with salad and potatoes. For dessert, have more fruit.

4. Eat fish several times a week

Fish on a cutting board, essential to a Mediterranean diet.
Fish provides high-quality protein as well as heart-healthy essential fatty acids
 

Cut back on red meat and focus on increasing your fish intake. You should eat white and fatty fish at least twice a week.

There are so many ways to make them: baked, grilled, fried, sauteed… The Omega-3 fatty acids they provide will help you maintain your vascular health by reducing cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

5. Eat eggs four times a week

Contrary to what you may believe, eggs are healthy. Many years have passed and many new studies have been released since eggs were believed to be harmful to your health. Today, we know that eggs are a source of quality protein, vitamins, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

The problem with eggs is the belief that it raises cholesterol. However, this isn’t the case. At least not completely: excess consumption of eggs, along with other factors such as sedentary lifestyle and stress, could trigger high cholesterol values. Of course, it’s always better to eat them cooked or boiled than fried.

Discover: Is Eating Eggs Good or Bad for You?

6. Steps to make a Mediterranean diet: Regular consumption of dairy

Cheeses and yogurts are part of daily meals in the Mediterranean diet. This is because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, and high biological value proteins.

Need an idea? You can combine a piece of cheese with fruit or even have yogurt with pieces of fruit in it. You could also mix bits of feta cheese in with your salad.

7. Minimize your consumption of red meats

 
Slices of red meat on a cutting board with garlic and rosemary.
According to the WHO, some studies indicate that red meats can affect your heart health if you eat too much of them.

To make a Mediterranean diet, it’s important to reduce your consumption of red meat by opting instead to eat more white meats such as chicken and fish. Remember that a few years ago the World Health Organization warned about possible problems arising from excessive consumption of processed and red meat.

8. Eat healthy grains every day

Grains are part of the base of the food pyramid since they provide us with energy. Mainly, we recommend choosing whole grain versions of pasta, rice, couscous, and bread.

9. Steps to make a Mediterranean diet: Minimize your intake of sweets

You should eat sweets, pastries, and candy in an extremely moderate way. In other words, you don’t have to completely avoid their consumption, but it should be extremely controlled.

Be aware that excess sugars can cause diseases such as diabetes or obesity. Less than two servings a week is ideal.

10. Drink water all day

Your drink of choice should always be water: it quenches thirst and doesn’t provide empty calories. We recommend extremely moderating your consumption of sugary drinks, such as soft drinks and juices.

 

What do you think of this top 10 list to make a Mediterranean diet?

As you can see, it’s not that difficult to follow. You just have to adapt your habits to eat healthy foods and minimize the consumption of the least healthy foods, in addition to regular physical exercise!

  • Applegate, E. (2000). “Introduction: nutritional and functional roles of eggs in the diet”, Journal American Collection Nutrition, 19: 495S-498S.
  • Bouvard, V., Loomis, D., Guyton, K. Z., Grosse, Y., Ghissassi, F. El, Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., … Wu, K. (2015). Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00444-1
  • Ros, E. (2015). LA DIETA MEDITERRÁNEA. Mediterráneo Económico, ISSN 1698-3726, No. 27, 2015 (Ejemplar Dedicado a: Nutrición y Salud), Págs. 123-137.
  • Ros, E. (2008). Dieta mediterránea y enfermedad cardiovascular. Hipertension. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0212-8241(08)70863-6