With obesity and heart diseases on a rise, people are increasingly soliciting the help of healthy diet plans to lose weight and lead a healthy life. One such popular diet plan is the Mediterranean diet.
Inspired by dietary habits of the people in the coastal Mediterranean region and remodeled to suit the dietary pattern of today, this popular diet option incorporates the fundamentals of healthy living and eating.
So what exactly are the integral features of this diet? The key characteristics of this diet are plant based foods such as fruits and vegetables along with nuts, legumes and whole grains in the diet.
Olive oil and canola oil are used as a replacement for unhealthy fatty oils and butter. Fish, eggs and poultry are eaten three times a week while the consumption of red meats and saturated fats are reduced greatly.
In addition to this the diet emphasizes on the inclusion of dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt in moderate amounts. Red and white wine in the main meals can also be included. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are many.
Research has shown that this diet not only reduces the risk of heart diseases and myocardial attacks but is also known to help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Strokes, lung disease, asthma and a number of allergies can be prevented by following this diet.
If you too want to follow this diet then a number of recipes are available which could be put to use. These recipes are not only healthy but also quite delicious. It incorporates the essential Mediterranean diet foods to provide you with the maximum benefits.
Since fruits and vegetables are an integral part of the diet, salads are the perfect recipe for this diet. To make a Mediterranean salad, combine torn colorful lettuce leaves, two medium tomatoes, a cup of cut and diced cucumbers, half a cup of olives, parsley and scallions. Now add vinegar, salt, pepper and two tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and toss the salad.
Nuts are also an important component in the Mediterranean diet. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and then add pine nuts, raisins and garlic. Stir for thirty seconds and then add spinach. Cook for around two to three minutes till the spinach is wilted.
Remove from heat; add vinegar, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. This amazingly tasty spinach and nuts recipe is excellent for your heart and keeps the excess cholesterol at bay.
Inclusion of fish three times a week in the diet is essential. It is a good idea to bake fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna as these oily fish contains healthy Omega 3 fish oils. To bake the fish, preheat the oven to 450 degree F.
In a pan, heat olive oil and stir fry some onion. Add garlic and wine and simmer for ten to twenty seconds. Finish up by adding tomatoes, oregano and olives and sprinkling salt and pepper on top. Spoon this over the fish that has been placed on a baking tray and bake for ten to fifteen minutes.