You’ve heard about the benefits, but you don’t know what steps to take to start the Mediterranean diet? We’ve got you covered with an accessible guide to what to eat and how!
As we’ve written before, the Mediterranean diet was proven time and time again to help your body in numerous ways. So maybe you should try it too.
Research shows that people who follow this diet have a lighter body, and also a decreased risk of heart disease, depression, and dementia. So how about you start the Mediterranean diet and reap its benefits? Here are the rules!
How to start the Mediterranean diet
1. Consume a lot more fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and veggies are the absolute superstars if you want to try the Mediterranean. The recommended “dose” is 5 to 10 servings each day. One serving means 1/2 cup of cooked fruits and veggies or 1 cup of them raw.
Don’t know which fruits and veggies to pick? Try the “classics” of the Mediterranean diet: oranges, lemons, grapes, eggplants, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
2. Choose healthy fats
You can’t go wrong with consuming olives and olive oil! They are very rich in monounsaturated fats, and plant compounds called polyphenols. Try eating 4-6 servings per day. One serving is one teaspoon of olive oil or 5 olives. Also 1/8 of an avocado.
3. Seeds, nuts, and legumes
You can eat them because of their fiber and protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Try 1/2 cup of cooked legumes – beans, soybeans, or lentils, for instance -, maybe in the form of lentil soup or hummus, at least twice a week. Also, you can snack on about one tablespoon of nuts or 10-12 almonds or walnut halves daily.
4. Fish and eggs
For 2-3 times a week, have 4 ounces of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore because they’re rich in omega-3 acids, which help keep your heart healthier. Combine eggs and veggies into a frittata every once in a while.
Some poultry in moderation is quite alright. Add some lean meat in the menu, whenever you feel like it. You can eat about 2-3 servings per week, one serving about the size of a computer mouse.
Cultured milk like Greek yogurt, kefir, or ricotta cheese is easier to digest than milk. They also contain healthy bacteria that help out with your digestion. Choose 1-3 servings daily, which means that you can combine 1 cup of yogurt with 1 ounce of cheese, as a serving.
7. Try whole grains
They contain complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. Sourdough is healthy for you because it makes digestion easier and helps you absorb nutrients better. Have four small portions of whole-wheat bread. And do try pasta made with quinoa.
8. Herbs and spices
Rosemary, oregano, thyme, and parsley have a high concentration of antioxidants, and they fight inflammation in your gut. Because they’re very versatile, you can use them in multiple types of dishes. From fish to salads and pasta.
Mediterranean people tend to drink coffee after a meal to help their digestion. But the best help you have is pure, fantastic water. Drink as much as you need, maybe add some green tea, mint, or fresh fruits for a drop of flavor!
10. Eat socially
People who live near the Mediterranean Sea understand the purpose of socializing while eating. Try family dinners more often, cook for your friends. Add smiles and music to the mix, and you will also embrace the spirit of the area, which is also vital for your health!