Follow the Mediterranean diet from anywhere in the world!
A new study of US News shows that there are ways to adapt the Mediterranean diet that is considered as the top in the best diets’ list, even if you don’t live in Greece, Italy or Spain!
One of the healthiest ways you can eat
The principles of this Mediterranean lifestyle can be adapted by virtually any cuisine, that is healthy, sustainable and flavorful. Research over the years has shown that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways you can eat. According to a registered dietitian that also did that kind of research, “there are many health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, because of its high fiber, whole foods and unsaturated fat”.
What are the health benefits?
For those reasons and a lot more, “it’s often referred to as a heart-healthy diet,” she says, confirming that research shows that the Mediterranean diet can improve your blood pressure, your LDL cholesterol levels, your triglycerides and your blood sugar levels.
There is also some evidence that the Mediterranean diet can help with blood sugar balance in individuals with diabetes Type 2, the dietitian adds. The diet’s health benefits are attributed to the emphasis on plant-based foods, says Sara Riehm, a registered dietitian with Orlando Health in Florida. “This type of diet recommends whole grains, fruits and vegetables and plant based proteins, such as nuts, seeds and legumes every day”, she notes, adding that “plant-based foods have a high fiber content that aids in steadying blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol and promoting digestive health”.
As the research has shown, you don’t have to live in the Mediterranean, or even close there, to be able to eat in that way. Consuming mostly plant-based foods “can be applied to any culture in the world utilizing the crops that are readily available in that country.”
For example, the meals you can find in Egypt can look a lot different from what you’d eat in Italy, but both can still completely conform to the principles of the Mediterranean diet. The same is true for virtually any cuisine across the world, from Africa and Asia to the South Pacific and beyond. That’s because there are certain commonalities in eating patterns from across the various countries that border the Mediterranean which form the basis of the Mediterranean diet.
Researches prove that any cuisine or eating pattern that conforms to the Mediterranean diet are high in fiber, feature whole foods and minimally ultra-processed or “junk” foods and include moderate amounts of healthy fats, as well as fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil, as well as lots of fruits and vegetables. It limits eggs, added sugars, highly processed food, poultry and refined grains.
How to adapt the Mediterranean diet principles
Lisa Young, the author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim,” a nutritionist and adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU, says “you can take many of the principles and adapt them to other cuisines unique to (another) region by adding vegetables and whole grains from that region and lowering red meat and eating more fish and plant proteins”.
As far as the olive oil is concerned, that is considered the core of the Mediterranean diet – it’s the primary source of healthy fat, so cooking every meal with olive oil, or a fat with similar nutrients like grapeseed oil, can help you apply the Mediterranean eating pattern to any style of eating.
Nutritionists also recommend using other heart healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocado and nuts, instead of saturated fat like butter. The same goes with whole grains, by using a grain that is native to the region, such as brown rice, oatmeal, amaranth, millet, kamut, teff, farro, quinoa, barley, bulgar, sorghum, rye, popcorn and any product that is made with these grains.
Last but not least, fish is considered a basic ingredient for a healthy diet, so researchers say that you have to eat fish ince per day on most days, because it contains plenty of protein that your body needs to keep your muscles strong.