The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets to date. It gained popularity because it helps ease out depression as suggested by researchers. The diet involves eating more plant-based foods with fewer amounts of both meat and dairy.
People who followed the Mediterranean diet were found to less likely to develop depression and have a happier mood overall. However, lots of thorough research is still needed to prove that following such diet can indeed treat depression.
When we talk about diets, it’s primarily about avoiding eating “bad” foods while consuming more of the “good” ones. A whole diet approach consists of choosing to eat a variety of food groups for a healthier and balanced approach to eating.
Nature plays a vital role to make us eat lots of fruits and veggies. Take a tomato for an example; its natural deep red color is striking enough to convince us to eat one. The color of our favorite fruits and veggies are due to the nutrients they have. Lycopene found in tomatoes is the reason for its color. Same with anthocyanins which are found in aubergines and blueberries, which results in a deep blue/purple color. Likewise, the color orange on squashes and carrots is because of beta-carotene.
Olive oil also has a big part in the Mediterranean diet. Oleic acid, which is a compound found in olive oil helps fight various health issues such as cancer and brain damage just to name a few. So with that said, how do we eat the “Mediterranean” way? Let’s find out!
- More Veggies!
- It’s important to incorporate five portions of non-starchy veggies in your everyday meals such as Aubergines, Peppers, Courgettes, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumber, and the like. Roasted Mediterranean Stuffed Red Peppers also goes perfect with the mentioned veggies too.
- Don’t Forget About Healthy Fats
- Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and butter beans should also be included in your meals too. Not to mention, nuts and seeds. They provide a good amount of fiber and protein and also healthy fats as well. Olive and Avocado oil also contains healthy fats which are perfect to go with your everyday meals. Consider adding at least 5-6 teaspoons of olive oil per day and ¼ of avocado oil.
- Time to Get Fishy
- Consider adding fish to your daily meals such as salmon, fresh tuna, sardines, and mackerel to name a few. Eating at least 2-3 times per week of fish is recommended. Fishes are filled with protein and contain anti-inflammatory properties such as omega-3. If you’re allergic to fishes (which is rare), you might want to opt on taking omega-3 supplements instead.
- Consume Less Dairy
- Eating lesser amounts of dairy food is part of the Mediterranean diet. Trim it down to only 1-2 daily servings of dairy-based foods. A cup of milk, fresh curd cheeses like feta or ricotta is also recommended too since they are easier to digest. Don’t forget to eat eggs too like 3-4 times a week. Eggs are rich in protein and are easy to prepare.
- Opt for Better Food Choices
- Avoid eating refined carbs since they lack essential nutrients and fiber. Go for wholegrain instead for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption.
- Increase Your Antioxidant Intake
- Eat plenty of fish and antioxidant-rich dried herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
- Choose Healthy Drinks
- Opt for drinking healthy food choices such as green tea, and most importantly, water. Avoid sugary beverages such as fruit juices, squashes, and cordials. Don’t worry; you can still drink alcohol but keep it in moderate quantities.
- Eat with the Seasons
- It’s better to eat during harvest season where fruits and veggies are at their nutritious state. Try something new and eat veggies or fruits that you have never tasted before. Be it radishes to your salad or maybe a roasting fennel as a side vegetable.
- With plenty of meat and fish on the list, it’s better to opt for plant-based foods more often and less of processed foods. Spruce up your dish by adding color of fruits and veggies. Lastly, eat until you feel that you’re 80% full. This will make you comfortable without feeling overstuffed.