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The Mediterranean Diet is considered the world’s healthiest way of eating.
If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, eat real (i.e., better) food, lose weight, boost your energy and super charge your longevity, then the Mediterranean Diet may be right for you.
The Mediterranean Diet is also well known for its association with the “Blue Zones”, the five areas of the world where people are the healthiest and live the longest.
Many people have been incredibly successful in improving their health, boosting their energy and achieving a healthy weight by embracing the Mediterranean Diet as their way of eating.
We’ve listed for you 10 Mediterranean Diet principles every beginner needs to know to get started. You can be healthier and feel better starting today!
These principles are just the beginning of understanding the Mediterranean Diet. It’s important to do your research and talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.
We hope you find these principles helpful as you start your journey to eating healthier. Get ready for a healthier, happier, more energetic you!
10 Mediterranean Diet Principles For Beginners
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is inspired by the eating habits and healthy lifestyles of people who live around the Mediterranean Sea. In these areas, people are often considered some of the healthiest (and longest living) in the world.
The Mediterranean Diet is primarily plant-based. You’ll eat lots of real, whole food like veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. The foundation of the diet, these foods serve as the basis of all meals.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
As the main source of healthy fat, extra virgin olive oil plays a key role in the Mediterranean Diet. It’s a way of eating that is slightly higher in fat, but the emphasis is strictly on healthy fats (nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil).
Moderation Is Key
As the Mediterranean Diet focuses mainly on veggies, fruits and whole grains, it includes less dairy and meat. In moderation, healthy fish is a main source of protein. Small amounts of yogurt and cheese (and to a lesser extent, white meat and eggs) are also moderately included.
It’s Heart Healthy
Its plant-based focus on whole foods, healthy fat and moderate protein makes the Mediterranean Diet famous as a heart-healthy way of eating. It is also known to support brain health, regulate blood sugar, and improve weight loss (reducing inflammation and risk of chronic disease).
What to Avoid
The Mediterranean Diet avoids highly processed foods and meats, added sugar and sugary beverages, refined carbohydrates, sodium, as well as unhealthy fats and oils. For example, fresh fruit for dessert instead of sweets. And, extra virgin olive oil is used instead of butter or margarine.
What About Wine?
The Mediterranean Diet famously supports low to moderate amounts of red wine to be enjoyed with a meal. However, it is important to understand exactly what that means (less than 3-5 ounces). If you don’t drink alcohol, you shouldn’t start on this diet.
A Healthy Lifestyle
In addition to healthy food choices, the Mediterranean Diet also encourages an active lifestyle and enjoying mindful meals with family and friends (intentional eating). It’s time to get active (and social)!
Mediterranean Diet Principles & Guides
If you’d like to learn more about Mediterranean Diet principles to see if it’s right for you, many resources are available. But before starting a new diet of any kind, it’s recommended to first talk to your doctor.
Here are four comprehensive guides (and cookbooks) to the Mediterranean Diet with more information on the world’s healthiest diet.
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day – A bestseller by America’s Test Kitchen.
The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health – A bestseller by registered dieticians Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly.
Mediterranean Air Fryer: 95 Recipes to Fry, Roast, Bake and Grill – Air fry your way to better health with this cookbook by Katie Hale.
Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well – An Amazon’s Editor’s Pick in Best Cookbooks Food & Wine by America’s Test Kitchen.
The Blue Zones
The Mediterranean Diet is associated with two of the five Blue Zones. Studies have identified the Blue Zones as areas of the world where people are healthiest and live the longest. If you’d like to learn more about the Blue Zones and the lifestyles of people who live there, here’s where to start . . .
The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 – An Amazon’s Editor’s Pick in Best Cookbooks, Food & Wine by Dan Buettner (part of the Blue Zones 4-book series).
The Blue Zones Challenge: A 4-Week Plan for a Longer, Better Life – A new companion to The Blue Zones Kitchen by #1 New York Times bestselling author Dan Buettner.
The Blue Zones Kitchen, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest – National Geographic Explorer and longevity expert Dan Buettner reviews Blue Zones research.
The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People – A guide (and recipe book) to transforming your health by bestselling author Dan Buettner.
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