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The Mediterranean diet is more than a diet.  It is a way of eating or a lifestyle that one would aim to adopt for the rest of their life.  It isn’t a quick fix for health problems or weight management. Thus, one would need to make long term changes to their current way of eating to see the main benefits characterized by the Mediterranean diet.  

Here is the essential information about the history, guidelines and health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

mediterranean diet pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet Explained

The public was first made aware of the Mediterranean diet in 1975.  But, it did not gain popularity until the 1990s. This way of eating was created based on the eating habits of the people in countries such as Crete, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Southern France, and Italy.

This diet is not a way of eating as much as it is a lifestyle.  The Mediterranean diet focuses on living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying healthy meals with your family and loved ones.

What Can You Eat on the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a predominantly plant-based diet; but, some lean protein sources can be included. It consists mainly of high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, legumes (beans), fish, seafood, herbs, spices, nuts, and whole grains.  Non-fish protein sources, such as poultry, eggs, and dairy products are consumed in moderate portions, while red meats are consumed far less with an average of less than twice per week.

The focus is on the whole, single-ingredient foods. Added sugars, sweetened beverages, refined grains and oils, processed meats and packaged foods are entirely avoided.  Packaged and processed foods are avoided because they often contain added sugars and refined ingredients. These ingredients go against the Mediterranean way of eating as the main focus is on fresh and single ingredient foods.

When it comes to what to drink on the Mediterranean Diet, water makes up the primary drink of choice.  Tea and coffee are allowed, but with no added sugars. Red wine is also encouraged in moderation but is limited to one glass per day for women and two glasses per day for men.  Any more than this and the disadvantages of consuming too much alcohol outweigh the heart-healthy benefits of drinking red wine.

The Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The most commonly reported benefit of this diet is that it promotes heart health. People who live in the Mediterranean areas, historically suffer from far less heart disease than people in other parts of the world. The majority of the fats that are consumed are primarily made up of monounsaturated fat. These fats do not raise cholesterol levels like trans, and saturated fats do.  Lower cholesterol levels cause an overall reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another health benefit is a reduced risk of cancer. This reduced risk is due to the high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

High consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables also means that there is a high consumption of cancer-fighting healthy antioxidants.

Increased cognitive function, or at least the delay or prevention of cognitive degeneration, is yet another benefit of eating as those in the Mediterranean area. The healthy fats consumed, such as extra virgin olive oil and avocados, are very good for brain function, and thus may aid in the prevention of cognitive degeneration. They may even help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Due to the high consumption of low-calorie fruits and vegetables, and the low consumption of high calorie processed foods, this may be a good diet to follow to lose excess body fat. Staying satiated by eating lean proteins, healthy fats, and fresh ingredients will leave less space for craving highly processed foods. Combine this with the physical activity that is encouraged when following the Mediterranean lifestyle, and it is very likely that weight loss will occur.

The Cons of the Mediterranean Diet

Because it is more of a lifestyle and not so much a prescribed specific diet, the guidelines can seem slightly ambiguous. Terms such as “moderate consumption” or “high consumption” do tend to leave much open for interpretation. If one is looking for a diet plan that gives specific macronutrient breakdowns or amounts, this may not be an appropriate option. Because it is considered more of a lifestyle, much of the guidelines are open for interpretation.   

Also, because of the moderate consumption of red wine is encouraged, it may not be the best option for someone who is avoiding alcohol due to personal choices, medications, or other health risks.

The Mediterranean Diet Summed up

Although there are a few cons to consider, the benefits of adopting the Mediterranean Diet far outweigh those cons. Improved heart health, reduced risk of cancer, and general health improvement due to weight loss are all benefits that one can expect to gain when following this healthy lifestyle.  

How Meal Kit Service Can Help You Maintain the Diet?

Meal kit service is a relatively new phenomenon in the culinary world. The service was created because people are busier in their day to day lives now than ever before. Who has time to plan, shop for, and cook a meal every day or night?

Speeding through a drive-thru may seem like the easiest option, but it is rarely the most healthy choice. Meal kit services eliminate the need to go to the grocery store. You may be asking, so where will the food come from? The ingredients for your next family meal will be selected and delivered straight to your door!

Mediterranean Lentil Salad by Home Chef

Meal kit service makes sticking to a diet much more accessible. One of the most challenging aspects of maintaining a diet is shopping for the proper foods and preparing the meals. Those are both time-consuming tasks that can take up hours in a day.

Meal kit services will deliver the perfect combination of ingredients, custom-made for your diet. Therefore, all you need to do is cook the meal, which usually takes thirty minutes or less. Meal kit service can help you maintain a diet by making the entire process more convenient and time-saving.

Best Meal Kit Services for the Mediterranean Diet

We here at the Meal Kit Comparison are dedicated to trying out all meal kit services that are relevant to the Mediterranean diet. Check out the link to the meal kit that we have chosen as the best meal kit for the Mediterranean diet.

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