Wonder what do Mediterranean people eat to stay fit and healthy? Check out these Mediterranean diet meal ideas to reap all the benefits.
The Mediterranean diet isn’t one specific diet, but rather the foods that are most commonly eaten in the Mediterranean region.
The Mediterranean is a very diverse region, with at least 10 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and many more.
All of the diets unique to each country are different, but it is widely known that the people living in these countries tend to live longer and see fewer health issues than we do in the United States.
Key Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is very diverse, including foods that promote healthy brain function, cancer prevention, and heart health. It can also result in weight loss and reduces inflammation.
The main health benefit of the Mediterranean Diet is that it helps fight inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural protective response of the body that sends white blood cells to attack any infection in the body.
However, inflammation can occur when there is no infection in the body, and now the body is attacking healthy cells and tissues.
A popular type of inflammation is arthritis, but chronic inflammation can cause asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The Mediterranean diet includes a variety of foods that help fight inflammation and a minimum amount of foods that promote it.
Anti-Inflammatory (Eat This) vs. Pro-Inflammatory (Avoid)
Here is a shortlist of the best foods to eat to fight inflammation and the ones you must avoid:
- Berries and citrus fruits vs. refined carbohydrates, or white bread
- Leafy green vegetables vs. fried foods
- Salmon, tuna, sardines vs. red/processed meats
- Almonds and walnuts vs. shortening and margarine
This diet focuses on natural carbs (fruits and whole grain) instead of refined carbs, leafy greens instead of fried foods, fatty fish instead of processed meats, and healthy fats such as almonds, avocadoes, and walnuts instead of saturated fats.
An anti-inflammatory diet like this supports better lung function, especially when it comes to diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It can even be helpful for those diagnosed with lung cancer, including pleural mesothelioma.
What Does A Mediterranean Diet Meal Look Like?
With this diet, you can pretty much eat many of the same meals you’ve always eaten, but with a few modifications made.
Keep in mind that it’s still important to eat correctly portioned sizes. Just like with all other types of food, overeating does more harm than good.
Here are a few Mediterranean diet meal ideas to help you start your weight loss journey with the right foot:
You can still have pancakes for breakfast, but instead of using an instant mix, try homemade pancakes made with almond, buckwheat, coconut, oat, or quinoa flour instead of white flour.
Also, adding berries to your pancakes will help reduce inflammation and provide antioxidant benefits.
Avocado toast on whole grain bread is another good breakfast option, and so is Greek yogurt with raw honey and fruit.
This diet allows for some carbs, but fruits and vegetables should still dominate your meals.
For example, a Mediterranean pasta salad has noodles, but it is also topped with peppers, tomatoes, and olive oil. All these help fight inflammation.
Grilled salmon is also a healthy option, with salmon being high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Pumpkin soup is another delicious, yet healthy option, as pumpkin is rich in carotenoids, which also heal with lung function.
Snacks and desserts aren’t left out here either. The key is healthy snacking and limiting the number of sugary foods you eat.
Almonds are an extremely healthy snack, high in magnesium. If you’re looking for a sweeter snack, you can have dark chocolate-covered almonds.
A Mediterranean-style dessert would include a dark chocolate mousse since dark chocolate is high in flavonoid antioxidants, also good for the lungs.
The Mediterranean-style diet is one of the healthiest diets because of its diversity of healthy foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein.
While following the Mediterranean diet menu, it is still important to stay active, either by walking or engaging in cardiovascular exercise and weight lifting.