Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan – An Ideal Way to Lose Fat

The Mediterranean diet meal plan might be just what the doctor ordered if you'd like to lose weight in a healthy manner. The diet is essentially easy to implement, has many outstanding health benefits, and incorporates the traditional cooking style of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

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Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

The Mediterranean diet reduces your risk of heart disease. In fact, a 2007 study found that both men and women who consumed a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of both heart disease and cancer.

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Key Components of the Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

  • Get plenty of exercise and eat meals with family and friends.
  • Consume a generous amount of fruits and vegetables.
  • Adding more healthy fats such as olive oil and organic canola oil to your foods.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
  • Eat small portions of nuts at least twice a day, four times a week.
  • Drink red wine in moderation.
  • Consume very little red meat.
  • Eating fish or shellfish at least twice a week.

    Mediterranean diet food pyramid image

    Adding Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes, Nuts, and Whole Grains

    The traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in phytonutrients and includes fruits, vegetables, pasta, and rice. People who live in Greece eat very little red meat but average nine servings a day of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables daily. The Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL, the bad cholesterol) that's more likely to build up plaque in your arteries.

    Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat (approximately 80 percent of calories come from fat), but tree nuts, including walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazel nuts, are low in saturated fat. Nuts are however, high in calories so they should not be consumed in large amounts - generally eat no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid processed nuts and eat them raw.

    Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet there. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten without margarine, which contain trans fats. Instead, bread is typically dipped into cold pressed olive oil.

    Consuming Healthy Fats

    The focus of the Mediterranean diet meal plan doesn’t limit total fat consumption. Instead, it focuses on the wisest choices of the fats you consume. Fats consumed in the Mediterranean Diet include monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which contain beneficial linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). These fats come from food sources which include nuts and fish.

    Fish is eaten almost daily in the Mediterranean diet. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides and may improve circulatory health. The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans-fatty acids) - the latter of which contributes to heart disease.

    The Mediterranean diet meal plan emphasizes using olive oil as a primary source of fat, rather than animal or dairy fats. All types of olive oil from the region provide monounsaturated fat, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels when it’s used in place of trans fats.

    Expeller pressed olive oils are the slowest and best processed oils that contain the highest amounts of protective plant compounds, which are the healthiest for you.

    Consuming Wine

    The health effects of alcohol have been debated for many years, and some doctors are reluctant to encourage alcohol consumption because of the health consequences of excessive drinking habits. However, moderation of the intake of alcohol has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

    Red wine is a blood anticoagulant and also contains antioxidants. The Mediterranean diet includes red wine, but only in moderation. This means no more than 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine daily for women and men over age 65, and no more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of wine daily for men under age 65. Any more than these amounts actually increases the risk of health problems, including the risk of some types of cancer.

    If you're unable to limit your alcohol, have a family history of alcohol abuse, or have heart or liver disease, it is best to refrain from drinking, period.

    Summary of the Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

  • Eat more whole grains.
  • Eat 10 servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use organic canola or olive oil in cooking. Try olive oil for salad dressings. Add olive oil, garlic and spices for flavor in your dishes. Dip breads in olive oil.
  • Season your meals with herbs and spices.
  • Substitute fish and poultry for red meat.
  • Limit dairy intake.
  • Eat fish once or twice a week. Water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled, broiled, or steamed fish are good cooking choices.
  • Keep raw walnuts, almonds, pecans or Brazil nuts on hand for a quick snack.
  • Drink a glass of red wine at dinner with your pasta or fish. If you don't drink alcohol, you don't need to start. Drinking purple grape juice or Acai Berry juice may be a healthy alternative.

    Another benefit of a Mediterranean diet meal plan is that it can save you money at the grocery store. Instead of spending your money on processed foods and exorbitant amounts of meat, you will instead be choosing fresh fruits and vegetables and fish over other meats.

    Fried fish or fish that’s served with heavy sauces isn't part of the Mediterranean diet meal plan. Use healthy fats, such as cold pressed olive oil and organic canola oil when you cook but only in moderation because of their high calorie content.

    Consider nuts as a snack or an addition to eating more healthy salads. Finally, reduce or eliminate trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) from your diet. Once you experience the delicious and healthy choices the Mediterranean diet meal plan has to offer, it just might become your eating plan for life.

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

    Related Pages on This Site

    Lose Stubborn Belly Fat – Best Ways to Eliminate a Pot Belly

    Eating a Balanced Diet Decreases Weight and Increases Energy

    The Raw Foods Diet Plan

    Health Benefits of Omega 3 Oils

    Reduce the Risk of Cancer through Nutrition

    Healthy Low Fat Diet to Ditch Pudginess

    Low Carb Foods Diet Facts – Sorting Through the Confusion!


    8 Ways to Follow the Mediterranean Diet

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