The Mediterranean Diet: A Healthy Choice
The Mediterranean diet is the traditional diet of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. The label "Mediterranean diet " refers to the traditional diet of Greece and Southern Italy as found in the 1960s. The foods that make up the Mediterranean cuisine have been associated with many health benefits.
The foods in the diet are mainly plant based and minimally processed, as well as seasonally fresh.
Olive oil is the main source of diet fat in a Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is used liberally in the traditional diet. In a weight management program, olive oil should be measured. The amount of olive recommended is based on your calorie level. For example, someone eating 1500 calories would be allowed 4 Tablespoons of olive oil a day while 2000 calories would be allowed about 6 Tablespoons.
A traditional Mediterranean diet contains the following foods:
- A wide variety of vegetables and fruit - many that have deep color, like broccoli, tomatoes, leafy greens, apricots, grapes
- grains - pasta, rice, couscous, bread
- legumes - like cannellini beans, kidney beans, ceci beans (garbanzo beans), black beans.
- herbs - like garlic, basil, rosemary and thyme are integral components of many recipes.
- nuts and seeds
- dairy products - primarily cheese and yogurt; low to moderate amounts seafood and poultry - low to moderate amounts
- eggs - not restricted
- red meat - is eaten only a few times per month; serving sizes are small, like a condiments and not the main course
- red wine - 1-2 glasses/day, with meals
Most everyone can lose weight. The problem is that many people will not be able to keep the weight off for more than a few months. The chances of permanent weight loss are increased if you have used an effective diet for weight loss. An effective diet for weight has the following features:
There has to be a decrease in calories; or energy. In order to lose weight, you will have to eat less. You should expect to have some hunger when you are eating a diet to lose weight, however, you should not be overly hungry as that would mean you decreased your calories too much. A daily decrease of about 500 calories is usually best for gradual weight loss. The diet should also be nutritionally adequate. An effective weight loss diet contains a variety of food items and does not exclude any major food group. All foods provide specific nutrients and there is no perfect food. A healthy diet contains a variety of foods all consumed in moderation.
An effective weight loss diet must contain foods that are acceptable to the dieter and can be easily purchased. The dieter will not be able to follow a weight loss diet that includes exotic and/or unusual foods. In order for the diet to be successful, the foods must be readily available in the average grocery store.
The diet must also lead to permanent changes in eating behavior. This will come from a diet that is nutritionally adequate and contains acceptable, practical foods. You probably need to relearn eating. Your eating behavior before you started weight loss led to you storing extra fat. If you return to that way of eating, it is highly likely you will become obese again. Continue with a new way of eating and you will likely maintain your new, lower weight.
The Mediterranean diet has been associated with good health and longevity, and an extra added advantage is that the Mediterranean diet is easy to follow and extremely tasty. Check out all of the information on the Mediterranean diet on this series of hubs and you will quickly see how easy it is to follow a Mediterranean diet... and how delicious the diet really is!
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