Some diets go just as quickly as they come, but the Mediterranean Diet seems like it is here to stay. Let’s be real though, it’s more like a lifestyle than a diet (probably why it continues to be loved by many). Overall, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes the consumption of foods high in omega-3s and healthy fats, like fish and olive oil, and lots of plant-based whole foods like nuts, grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies.
Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet boasts tons of incredible health benefits. Here are some of the most widely known:
Heart Health: The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and early death, all associated with better heart health (1).
Boosts Brain Health: One study with 1,864 participants found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet were less likely to get Alzheimer’s or experience other types of cognitive decline in old age (2).
Decreased Depression and Anxiety: One study found that when older adults followed the Mediterranean diet, they were less likely to experience depression (3).
Promotes Healthy Weight Management: The diet is high in whole food carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. This all leads to a natural feeling of fullness and more even blood sugar levels, which translate into healthy weight loss and weight management.
Good Gut Health: One study found that people who follow the Mediterranean diet had a higher population of good bacteria in their microbiome, compared to those who ate a traditional Western diet (4).
What should I eat?
The traditional Mediterranean diet is based on foods available in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The foundation for this healthy diet includes:
● Lots of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, which are minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and grown locally.
● Olive oil, nuts, seeds, and olives as the principal sources of fat.
● Cheese and yogurt, consumed daily in low to moderate amounts.
● Fish and poultry, consumed in low to moderate amounts a few times a week.
● Red meat consumed infrequently and in small amounts.
● Fresh fruit for dessert, with limited added sugar.
● Wine consumed in low to moderate amounts, usually with meals.
Can You Combine the Mediterranean Diet + Clean?
Absolutely! The Clean Program follows many of the guidelines of the Mediterranean Diet. You can modify it to fit your individual goals and needs. The Clean Program and the Mediterranean diet share the foundation of focusing on whole foods, vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality protein sources while diminishing processed foods.
Adjustments to do the Mediterranean Diet the Clean way:
– Omit the wine (if completing the 21-Day Program; if not, enjoy sparingly).
– Leave out dairy, for the most part.
– Keep the grains gluten-free, i.e. brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat
… that’s basically it! As we said, these diets have a lot in common.
What It Looks Like on a Daily Basis
● Don’t fear healthy fats! Extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish are welcomed.
● Get in gluten-free whole grains daily. Try out these recipes if you’re looking for inspiration: Wild Rice and Brussels Sprouts Salad, Easy Weeknight Salmon Bowl
● Include lots of fresh salads with leafy greens (preferably with those that are in season), like our Lentil Beet Salad and Magical Kale Salad.
● Aim for three to four servings of vegetables a day. Check out these veggie sides to make sure you get them in Kabocha Squash, Easy Brussels Sprouts
● Eat at least three servings a week of legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. This pumpkin hummus is a great option.
● Reduce meat consumption to organic, lean poultry in 3- to 4-ounce portions. Save red meat for occasional consumption. And always enjoy meat with lots of veggies, like this Chicken Meatball Soup.
● Eat more fish, aiming for two to three servings a week. We love wild-caught salmon, sardines, and wild-caught white fish.
● Stay hydrated with lots of clean, filtered water.
● Always look for local sources first. Get to know local farmers and visit farmer’s markets to source locally grown seasonal foods.
Written by Hannah Aylward
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339461/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5538737/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29775747 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00028/full