If you want to lose weight and maintain optimal health using the Mediterranean diet, this article will show you the most important Mediterranean diet rules for beginners.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world.
When people think of the Mediterranean diet what usually comes to mind is the olive plant and its oil. But this healthy diet is much more than eating cheese and hummus splattered in olive oil.
Various studies show that the Mediterranean diet can protect against several chronic ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Here are the twelve essential rules to follow when starting the Mediterranean diet:
Mediterranean diet rules for beginners
1. Eat Vegetables every day
Do you struggle to eat veggies in every meal? Well, the Mediterranean diet may work for you since it asks you to eat two servings of veggies every day.
All it takes is a handful of spinach in your smoothie and a side dressing of cabbage or kale at breakfast, and you are done.
However, you might want to eat more veggies throughout the day. According to a study from Australia, three servings of veggies a day can help keep stress at bay.
In addition, veggies contain fiber, which controls hunger.
2. Eat Fruits Daily
The Mediterranean diet encourages people to eat fruits multiple times each day.
Eating more fruits boosts your immune system, keeps you full for longer, and improves your digestion.
In fact, eating a fruit before each meal can help you lose weight.
It helps to have a bowl of fruit visibly displayed on your countertop. You may also want to throw a few fruits into your bag when going to work.
That way you will never run short of a healthy snack no matter where you are.
3. Olive Oil Is the Standard Cooking Oil
You may be ruining your health if you cook with vegetable oils. They contain high amounts of omega 6s, which cause inflammation.
Olive oil is a much healthier alternative.
It is dense in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Research suggests that HDL cholesterol helps to remove LDL (bad) cholesterol particles out of the arteries. This improves blood flow and regulates blood pressure.
You may also want to use olive oil as a salad dressing.
Note that it is okay to cook with avocado oil sometimes.
4. Consume More Fish
Fish is the primary source of protein in the Mediterranean diet.
The diet leans towards fatty fish including sardines, salmon, and mackerel. But it is okay to eat leaner fish such as tilapia and cod.
Other than providing you with protein, fish is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids help improve heart and brain function. They also fight inflammation and keep your skin looking young.
Start eating fish once a week and increase your intake as time goes by.
5. Legumes Should Become a Staple
Legumes like peas, soy, and beans should become a daily feature on your table.
These foods are rich in carbs, protein, and contain a lot of fiber.
The good thing is you can eat legumes alone or as a side dressing alongside other dishes.
Eat legumes in moderation in the first few days. Eating too much can cause digestion problems.
6. Eat more Whole Grains
The Mediterranean diet encourages high intake of whole grains.
Foods such as brown rice, whole grain brain, quinoa, whole wheat, corn, barley, rye, and whole oats should always be in your meals.
Whole grains contain lots of fiber and they don’t spike blood sugar levels like processed foods. Also, they are easy to prepare.
If you usually struggle with being hungry all the time, whole grains will help control your hunger. Eat at least 2 servings a day.
7. Avoid Saturated Fats such as butter
The Mediterranean diet discourages intake of saturated fats from butter or meat and meat products.
The plant-based saturated fats should also be off your menu.
8. Start Eating More Nuts
Nuts feature prominently in the Mediterranean diet. Whether roasted as snacks or in butter form.
Start eating more cashews, almonds, peanuts, and pistachios. In fact, snacking on nuts before meals can help you eat less.
Nuts are rich in minerals, fat, protein and fiber.
Research shows that substituting regular snacks such as cereal bars, chips, and cookies for almonds can lower the amount of sodium, added sugar, and empty calories in your diet.
9. Red Meat Is Not On the Menu
The Mediterranean diet does not support the consumption of red meat.
If you eat red meat every other day, substitute it for white meat from chicken, turkey, duck, and quail.
You can also eat eggs from chicken, duck, and quail while on the Mediterranean diet.
10. Cut Back on Refined Sugar and Sweets
Sweets and refined sugar should not be an everyday thing. But you are allowed to eat them on special occasions.
Most of these sweets and refined sugars only load your body with empty calories without any nutritional value.
11. You Can Drink Wine Moderately
The Mediterranean diet allows for one to two drinks of wine each day.
In fact, some experts recommend a maximum of three-ounce serving and five-ounce serving per day for women and men respectively.
12. Enjoy Your Food with the Family
The Mediterranean diet is more than a meal plan. It is an eating approach, which can be shared by the entire family.
Enjoy the food and be present at the table. Have conversations as you enjoy the aroma and flavor of the meal. That’s when you’ve actually eaten like the Mediterranean.
Remember to follow these rules every day if you want to lose weight. In fact, most of these rules are in the VFX Body program, which is designed to help you lose belly fat.
Get this program today if you want to get a slimmer waist without going on a restrictive diet.
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