The Best Mediterranean Diet Guide for Beginners
Did you know that all the menus in the Dahna nutrition app are based on the well-known Mediterranean diet? For those who are not so familiar, the Mediterranean diet is a nutrition plan that promotes healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, fish or healthy fats, without too many restrictions.
Read our Mediterranean diet guide to find out why this diet is so popular in the medical world, as well as the essential foods included in this diet.
The origins of the Mediterranean diet
The origins of this diet can be traced back to the 1960s. Studies from that time showed that the death rate due to cardiovascular diseases was much lower in Mediterranean countries such as Greece or Italy, compared to Western countries. Since then, more and more studies on food from those regions have shown the amazing benefits this diet has on our health.
Why adopt a Mediterranean diet?
Although it is often called a “diet”, the Mediterranean regime is more of a lifestyle, without strict rules, which can be adapted to the needs of each of us. The role of this nutrition plan is not to lose weight, but more to promote sustainable healthy habits and long-term beneficial effects.
Numerous studies proves to us that the Mediterranean diet can help
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Maintain an optimal level of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome
- Reduce the risk of different types of cancer
- Slow down cognitive decline
- Maintain an optimal weight
- Promote longevity
What does the Mediterranean diet consist of?
As mentioned above, the Mediterranean diet does not follow strict rules. Although it is based on some basic principles, it can be adjusted to better suit your personal needs. Here is our basic Mediterranean diet guide:
- Fruits – 2-3 servings per day of fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, peaches, etc.
- Vegetables – 4 servings of vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, carrots, cucumbers, sweet potatoes etc.
- Whole grains – e.g. oat cereal, brown rice, whole grain bread, instead of refined grains such as white bread or pasta
- Plant-based unsaturated fats – instead of butter or margarine, opt for extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds – at least 4 servings a day of hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, etc.
- Legumes – e.g.. beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas
- Fish and seafood – 2-3 servings per week of salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, sardines, cooked in the oven or in a pan, absolutely not deep fried
- Poultry – e.g. chicken meat, turkey meat
- Dairy – e.g. yogurt, milk, with a low fat content (1-2%)
- Eggs – no more than two yolks per week
- Herbs and spices – e.g. garlic, basil, rosemary, pepper, cinnamon
- Low sugar drinks – water, tea or coffee
If it’s hard to find fresh vegetables and fruits every day, you can also opt for frozen, dried or canned versions – just be sure to check the sugar and salt content in them.
What should you watch out for when starting a Mediterranean diet?
Our Mediterranean diet guide is easy to follow, but there are some mistakes people can make which might reduce the benefits of this diet. Here are some of them:
The Mediterranean diet guide focuses more on the types of foods to include in your daily life, and not so much on the quantity. Because of that, it’s possible that people that are just getting started might not manage their food portions properly and may end up gaining weight.
To avoid this issue, we recommend our guide on portion sizes..
Omitting certain foods from the Mediterranean diet
When you decide to follow the Mediterranean diet, it is important to adopt it completely. It is not enough to just add olive oil or nuts to an otherwise unchanged unhealthy diet.
Studies show that the extraordinary benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet come from the combination of different foods beneficial to the body, and not from one particular food.
Can you adopt a Mediterranean diet if you are vegetarian/vegan?
The Mediterranean diet promotes a high consumption of plant-based foods, such as vegetables and fruits, but also plant-based proteins. Although it also includes animal products such as fish, seafood, eggs and dairy, they can easily be replaced with plant-based alternatives. We recommend consulting a specialist before making major changes to your diet and nutrition.
Can you adopt a Mediterranean diet if you are lactose or gluten intolerant?
You can replace any foods in Mediterranean recipes with gluten-free or lactose-free alternatives. Just like in the case of a vegan diet, we recommend consulting a specialist before making these changes.
Start a successful Mediterranean diet with Dahna!
A lifestyle change is never easy, whether it’s because of money, time, or just habit.
The Dahna Nutrition App can help you adjust your diet and lifestyle through menus based on the famous Mediterranean diet. It doesn’t get any easier than this:
- Download the app from the Google Store orApple Store
- Create an account and configure your own cardiometabolic profile (based on health biomarkers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels)
- Receive tasty and affordable menus personalized according to your cardiometabolic profile and personal needs, with foods based on the Mediterranean diet
- Generate efficient shopping lists for easy meal-planning
- Enjoy delicious, easy-to-prepare meals and a peaceful life, free of medical appointments or physical discomfort
Dahna is the first nutrition app in Romania that offers all these features. It is your best ally in preventing cardiovascular disease and reducing risk factors – download the free app today and start your journey to a healthy heart!