With southern European delicacies to the desired weight: This promises the Mediterranean diet. We tell you whether it works, what exactly this diet is about, and what you should pay attention to.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, and fish: These are the main components of the Mediterranean diet and will probably revive the last vacation memories for some.
Because who would not like to indulge in culinary delights and bring the vacation home to his plate? Right, that would probably be everyone.
What is actually behind the Mediterranean diet, what foods are allowed, and what advantages and disadvantages the diet brings with it, we explain to you here.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
In the Mediterranean diet, we look at the eating habits of our southern European neighbors such as southern France, Italy, and Greece.
There, people have always eaten what the regions have to offer in season, such as lots of vegetables, fresh fruit, potatoes, nuts, fresh fish, and good oils like olive oil.
The secret of the diet is a balanced, varied, and healthy diet.
However, strictly speaking, the Mediterranean diet is not a real diet according to plan, but rather a healthy way of eating and living.
No calorie counting! No great renunciation!
On the other hand, your diet will include fiber-rich, fresh foods, poultry, fish, whole grains, and yes, even alcohol – in moderation, of course.
The important thing is to be mindful when eating! Take enough time for each meal. The focus here is on enjoyment and slow eating.
What should you pay attention to during the diet?
It is advisable to make it clear to yourself in advance that the Mediterranean diet is not mainly about weight loss.
Rather, it is about a healthy, balanced diet that protects the cardiovascular system in particular. Due to the high-fiber diet, your digestion, the decrease of your cholesterol level, and the regulation of your blood lipids will be favored.
The key is to take your time eating. No hasty gobbling.
The credo of the southern Europeans is to always take plenty of time to prepare and eat.
What foods are allowed?
You may indulge in plenty of these foods:
Fresh vegetables and leafy salads
- Fruit (seasonal is best)
- Wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, rice, and potatoes
- Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils
- Nuts (e.g. almonds) and seeds
- Fresh or dried herbs and garlic
- Fried and steamed sea fish
- Cold-pressed olive oil is the main fat source
Eaten in moderation should be:
- Low-fat dairy products such as goat and sheep cheese
- Red wine (mostly with meals)
These things should rather be consumed rarely
- Red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb
- Sausage specialties
- Foods containing sugar
Advantages and disadvantages of the Mediterranean diet
Advantages of the Mediterranean diet
Due to the large amounts of fruit and vegetables rich in fiber, as well as good fats from nuts, fish, and olive oil, the nutritional concept of the Mediterranean diet is one of the most balanced so far.
The daily requirement of many vitamins and minerals is covered hereby.
No renouncement of carbohydrates – however on wheat and sugar.
Whether steamed lemon dorade on zucchini-tomato vegetables or stuffed eggplant with tomatoes and feta – Mediterranean cuisine is very varied, so you have many possible combinations when cooking.
When combined with exercise, the Mediterranean diet can lead to healthy weight loss in the long run.
In recent years, a wealth of studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, significantly reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
At the International Alzheimer’s Congress in London in 2017, experts from the Lancet Commission (the prestigious international panel of experts assessing new findings in dementia research) recommended, among other things, the Mediterranean diet for dementia prevention.
Disadvantages of the Mediterranean diet
As already mentioned at the beginning, the Mediterranean diet is basically a balanced change of diet and not a diet – no strict renunciation of certain foods.
Weight loss takes place very slowly and individually since no sports program is integrated into the diet.
Olive oil and fatty fish (e.g. salmon) are healthy sources of fat, but you should pay attention to the quantity and use them sparingly.
Attention, sugar trap at breakfast! In southern European countries, breakfast consists mainly of good coffee, bread, and sweet jams. Not particularly good for our blood sugar levels.
Therefore better: fresh fruit, yogurt, or porridge. This keeps cravings at bay in the morning.