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Mediterranean Diet Plan for Long Life and Excellent Health

Updated on June 20, 2011

Mediterranean Diet Plan - Follow It for Better Health and a Longer Life

No diet can guarantee either excellent health or longevity. However, if you copy the eating habits of the Greeks and other inhabitants of the Mediterranean area, you will increase your chances of living a long and healthy life.

Researchers have shown that the Mediterranean diet plan is excellent for a person's health and well being. The Mediterranean diet is especially good for heart health and those with diabetes. It can even help prevent heart disease and diabetes! Following the diet will probably cause you to lose weight.

Even if you don't follow the Mediterranean diet plan religiously, just a few healthy changes to your diet may make a big difference. Here are some easy ways to incorporate the Mediterranean diet plan into your daily menus:

The Mediterranean diet plan uses lots of olive oil!
The Mediterranean diet plan uses lots of olive oil!

Olive Oil - A Mediterranean Diet Favorite!

Olive oil is one of the magical ingredients in the Mediterranean recipe for excellent health. Why is olive oil so healthy? It is not just fat, like the unhealthy oils most Americans use in cooking.

Extra-virgin olive oil contains liberal amounts of antioxidants health boosters. They eliminate disease causing free radicals from the body. Olive oil also assists the body in absorbing vitamins and minerals from other foods.

Using olive oil on a regular basis will lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.

The Greeks are so crazy over their olive oil that they get almost half of their daily calories from it! Now, this reveals two things. Obviously, the Greeks must not consume a lot of greasy cheeseburgers and candy bars. The other thing is that the Mediterranean diet plan incorporates olive oil for almost any recipe that calls for oil.

As a matter of fact, in most Mediterranean countries, if you order a salad, your dressing will be olive oil and vinegar. Sometimes with added spices and herbs. No Ranch, Thousand Island, and on and on that you find in the United States. The Greeks also love to have fresh, homebaked bread paired with virgin olive oil, vinegar, and cracked pepper as a dip. It's delicious. Try it!

Classic Greek salad for the Mediterranean diet plan
Classic Greek salad for the Mediterranean diet plan

The Mediterranean Diet Plan Contains Lots of Vegetables

Lots of vegetables are included in the Mediterranean diet plan. They eat more than six servings a day. Fresh vegetables are eaten most of the time. No canned spinach that looks and tastes like pond scum. The Mediterranean region still has access to fresh grown vegetables and produce straight from farmers. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find fresh, organic produce in most of the United States.

Try to eat fresh vegetables whenever possible. Eat plenty of vegetables however you can buy them anyway. And if you live in a region where you can still buy vegetables that have just been picked, consider yourself lucky. Take advantage of it!

Greeks eat lots of fresh fish in their Mediterranean diet.
Greeks eat lots of fresh fish in their Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean Diet Plan Staple

Fish and seafood is a staple of the Mediterranean diet plan. Loaded with DHA and EPA, fish is excellent for your health in many ways. EPA is an essential fat that helps you to feel full longer and lessens carb cravings. DHA is another omega-3 fatty acid that helps the body burn fat more efficiently.

So it's pretty plain to see why including fish as a main part of the diet can have excellent side effects for your health. Eating fish regularly can help you lose weight, especially if it replaces other meat. Try to eat fish or seafood at least three times a week.

Heart healthy almonds are a popular Greek snack. Photo credit: Maria Li
Heart healthy almonds are a popular Greek snack. Photo credit: Maria Li

Mediterranean Diet Healthy Snacks

What do Greeks eat for snacks? Popular snacks in the Mediterranean diet plan are nuts. The types of nuts eaten most often in Greece are pistachios, walnuts, and almonds.

So why eat nuts? Don't contain a lot of calories and fat? Well, they are certainly healthier than cake, potato chips, and soft drinks.

But there's more. Besides calories, nuts also contain lots of healthy monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats help the liver get rid of excess cholesterol. This helps you lower your bad cholesterol. Regular consumption of nuts also helps with arthritic aches and pains. Eating nuts can also significantly lower your risk of suffering from depression.

All it takes is a handful of nuts every day to get the health benefits. Try to eat unsalted nuts for the healthiest choice.

Tzatziki is a popular Greek appetizer. It is Greek yogurt with chopped up cucumbers, garlic, and olive oil.
Tzatziki is a popular Greek appetizer. It is Greek yogurt with chopped up cucumbers, garlic, and olive oil.

Popular Greek Mediterranean Diet Plan Treat

The Greek Mediterranean diet plan also has lots of yogurt. The Greeks eat yogurt every day. It's not like the American version that is loaded with sweeteners, preservatives, and what not. Greek yogurt is unflavored and thicker, with a creamy texture. It has no added sugar or anything artificial.

Greeks mix yogurt with a little honey and their nuts that they love to eat. Often, they also add fresh fruit. This is another popular snack in the Mediterranean region. And everything about it is healthy- yogurt, heart healthy nuts, fresh fruit, and healing honey.

Look for unflavored Greek yogurt in the store. Many supermarkets are starting to stock it. Then find unpasteurized honey. It's what the Greeks use, and it's way more healthy than pasteurized honey.

Mediterranean Diet Plan and Weight Loss

If you follow the Mediterranean diet plan, don't be surprised if you lose weight. Women who go on the diet usually lose more weight than followiing other diets with the same amount of daily calories!

Centenarians of Ikaria - One of the Healthy Islands in the Mediterranean

Healthy Mediterranean Diet Plan Comments

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    • profile image

      Roberto Elliott 5 years ago

      I believe that avoiding processed foods would be the first step so that you can lose weight. They could taste excellent, but prepared foods possess very little vitamins and minerals, making you take more to have enough energy to get through the day. In case you are constantly having these foods, switching to whole grain products and other complex carbohydrates will make you to have more power while ingesting less. Thanks alot : ) for your blog post.

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    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Thank you for the great tips.

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      cool hub. it is also worth noting that nuts are high in protein so they can help replace meat also. I did not like olive oil at first but after using it a few times i am a believer. Rub your chicken with it before grilling or bakeing and you will be amazed at how moist it is.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      great hub! in fact in mediterranean diet are all the heathy food we need, specially vegetables and olive oil

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      great info. I like their salads and yes fresh grown vegetable sin the states is difficult. Although, according to some olive oil as a cooking oil defeats the health effectiveness.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Thanks for the info.

      I am starting to try to lose some weight. I am just cutting out a lot of carbohydrates. I am not eating bread or any other starchy or sugar items. I am finding myself eating a lot of salads and meet. I am allowing myself a little bit of fruit. A banana in the morning is great. I would like to try something like grapefruit, I haven't been able to work it in.

      So a lot of the things I am eating agrees a lot with the Mediterranean diet.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • lender3212000 profile image

      lender3212000 7 years ago from Beverly Hills, CA

      Excellent hub! Not only is the Mediterranean diet good for you, all of those elements can be used to create some great tasting dishes as well.