Mediterranean Diet Food List

By : | 0 Comments | On : December 20, 2017 | Category : Cooking

Are you looking for an enjoyable way of eating? The Mediterranean Diet may be exactly what you’ve been searching for. Besides offering an easygoing plan that’s brimming with delicious flavors, it is also among the healthiest diets available anywhere.

Deeply rooted in history, the Mediterranean Diet is the only way of eating ever to receive recognition by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The plan has nourished generations of people for millennia, and its rituals, traditions, and emphasis on creativity bring people together in a way no other diet can. Ready to try it for yourself? You’ll find all the basics (and some wonderful extras) as you explore the Mediterranean Diet food list.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet offers delicious flavors, plus it’s a realistic plan that people find very easy to embrace. High in fiber, with a strong focus on vegetables and fruits, this way of eating includes lean proteins, high-quality fats, and the opportunity to enjoy wine with dinner, if you like. There’s more to the plan than good taste though: Benefits of the Mediterranean diet include weight loss and maintenance, disease prevention, and more.

  • Protects against heart disease
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Protects against the development of age-related diseases including Alzhemer’s dementia, and Parkinson’s
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk for obesity and related disorders
  • Reduces the risk for depression
  • Reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes

According to a study published in Public Health Nutrition by Great Britain’s Nutrition Society, a detailed analysis of the Mediterranean diet showed that 70% of strokes, 80% of coronary heart disease cases, and 90% of type 2 diabetes can be avoided when people combine healthy food choices consistent with those found on the Mediterranean diet food list with regular physical activity and a non-smoking lifestyle.

Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

As you’ll soon discover, the Mediterranean Diet food list includes many delicious basics, along with some nice extras. While this shopping list is extensive, it would take pages and pages to include all the foods that are acceptable for inclusion in this way of eating; if you find foods with similar characteristics available and you’d like to try them, feel free!

Foods to Limit and/or Avoid

Before discussing the many foods that make up the Mediterranean diet, let’s take a quick look at which ones to limit to special occasions or even omit entirely.

  • Fast food
  • Deep fried food
  • Soft drinks sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • Candy
  • Sugary desserts
  • Refined oils including vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and others
  • Processed foods with unpronounceable ingredients
  • High-fat dairy products such as butter and heavy cream
  • Stick margarine and other items that contain trans fats
  • Fatty processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, and bacon

Foods to Enjoy on the Mediterranean Diet

If you have ever heard the advice to “eat the way your ancestors did,” then you might want to take a moment to thank the person who gave it to you: They’re definitely on the right track! Your ancestors didn’t have access to the harmful foods that are avoided on the Mediterranean diet, and they reserved things like cheese and meat for occasional enjoyment. Most of the foods on this list were easy for people in the Mediterranean region to access and grow, meaning that this plan revolves mainly around plant-based foods and seafood. As a general rule, look for single-ingredient whole foods or foods made with just a few easily recognizable ingredients.

  • Vegetables in unlimited amounts: Try to eat an entire rainbow of vegetables over the course of each day, and be sure to include vegetables in every meal. The average person following the Mediterranean diet eats between 6 and 12 servings of vegetables each and every day of the week.
    • Acorn squash
    • Alfalfa sprouts
    • Artichokes
    • Arugula
    • Asparagus
    • Beets
    • Bell peppers
    • Broccoli
    • Broccoli rabe
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Butternut squash
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflower
    • Celery
    • Celery root
    • Crookneck squash
    • Cucumbers
    • Delicata squash
    • Eggplant
    • Endive
    • Fennel
    • Garlic
    • Grape leaves
    • Green beans
    • Kale
    • Leeks
    • Lettuce, all types
    • Mushrooms, all types
    • Mustard greens
    • Onions, all types
    • Parsnips
    • Peas
    • Peppers, all types
    • Potatoes, particularly with skin on
    • Snap peas
    • Swiss chard
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Tomatoes
    • Turnips
    • Yams
    • Zucchini
  • Whole grains in limited amounts: While it’s fine to have refined grains occasionally, most of the breads, cereals, and pastas you eat should be made with whole grains. Not only are these more satisfying, they treat your body to a fantastic fiber boost. Look for grains that contain soluble fiber, which helps keep your arteries clear. Have between four to six servings of grains each day, and be cognizant of serving sizes so that you don’t overdo it.
    • Barley
    • Bulgur
    • Farro
    • Ezekiel bread or other sprouted grain products
    • Oats
    • Pasta
    • Polenta
    • Quinoa
    • Rice, preferably brown
    • Wheat
    • Whole grain breads, wraps, and tortillas of all types
    • Wild rice
  • Fruit in limited amounts: Eat a wide variety of fruits over the course of each week. Variety is the spice of life, and enjoying different fruits is a good way to treat your body to a wide range of nutrients. Try to indulge in two to four servings of fruit per day, or fewer if you are cutting sugar to lose weight.
    • Apples
    • Apricots
    • Bananas
    • Blackberries
    • Blueberries
    • Cantaloupe
    • Cherries
    • Dried fruits, all types in moderation
    • Figs
    • Grapes
    • Honeydew melon
    • Lemons
    • Limes
    • Mangoes
    • Oranges
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Plums
    • Pomegranates
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
    • Watermelon
  • Nuts and seeds in limited amounts: Nuts and seeds are an important source of protein, plus they contain healthy fats. When choosing nut butters, be sure to select those with no additives such as sugar, hydrogenated oils, or partially hydrogenated oils. Try to treat yourself to one or two servings of nuts and/or seed per day. As with cheese and other fatty foods, it’s very important to watch serving sizes! While the fats these foods contain are beneficial, they’re also high in calories.
    • Almonds
    • Almond butter
    • Almond milk, unsweetened
    • Cashews
    • Cashew butter
    • Cashew milk, unsweetened
    • Coconut
    • Chia seeds
    • Butternuts
    • Hazelnuts
    • Peanuts
    • Peanut butter
    • Pecans
    • Pine nuts
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Sesame seeds
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Sunflower seed butter
    • Tahini
    • Walnuts
  • Legumes in limited amounts: Legumes are an excellent source of protein, iron, and fiber – and they’re wonderfully filling, too. Try to enjoy one or two servings per day.
    • Black beans
    • Cannellini beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Edamame
    • Fava beans
    • Kidney beans
    • Lentils
    • Lima beans
    • Navy beans
    • Soybeans
    • Soymilk, unsweetened
    • Tempeh
    • Tofu
    • White beans
  • Seafood in limited amounts: Most of your animal protein should come from fish and shellfish. When choosing, look for wild-caught species rather than farm-raised; it’s more nutritious and comes from a clean, natural environment rather than a dirty underwater pen. Most who follow the Mediterranean diet aim for four servings of seafood per week.
    • Anchovies
    • Bluefish
    • Clams
    • Cod
    • Crab
    • Flounder
    • Haddock
    • Halibut
    • Mackerel
    • Monkfish
    • Mussels
    • Oysters
    • Perch
    • Salmon
    • Sardines
    • Scallops
    • Sea bass
    • Shrimp
    • Trout
    • Tuna
  • Dairy products in limited amounts: Fresh and aged cheeses, milk, and even the occasional splash of cream make their way into the Mediterranean diet. Think of cheese as a seasoning and use a light hand. Choose aged, flavorful cheeses and a little will go a long way. Try to have no more than three servings per day, and try to make at least one of those servings a yogurt or kefir.
    • Blue cheese
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Cottage cheese
    • Feta cheese
    • Gruyere cheese
    • Fresh mozzarella cheese
    • Goat cheese
    • Greek yogurt
    • Kefir, unsweetened
    • Milk, preferably low-fat or non-fat; consider replacing with nut milk
    • Mozzarella cheese
    • Parmesan cheese, unsweetened
    • Ricotta cheese
    • Yogurt, unsweetened
  • Poultry and Eggs in limited amounts: Moderate portions of chicken, eggs, and other poultry products are welcome additions to the Mediterranean diet food list, particularly when they are lean, skinless cuts. Enjoy them occasionally, no more than twice per week.
    • Chicken
    • Cornish game hen
    • Duck
    • Eggs, preferably organic with added Omega-3
    • Turkey
  • Red Meat in limited amounts: Our ancestors enjoyed meat when they could get it, often reserving it for holidays and other special occasions. The less you eat, the better; aim to indulge once or twice per month at most. If you have access to lean cuts of wild game, treat yourself to better nutrition by using it to replace traditional “livestock” meats in recipes.
    • Beef
    • Goat
    • Lamb
    • Pork
  • Herbs, spices, fats, condiments, and beverages: Enjoy as many herbs and spices as you crave, and have as much vinegar as you want. Drink as much water as you can, adding lemon slices for flavor, if you like. Plain tea and coffee are acceptable, and you may add small amounts of dairy, honey, or other natural sweeteners to your beverages if you must. Have a few glasses of wine each week, or enjoy sparkling water for a festive, calorie-free addition to meals. Limit fats and oils to a few small servings per day.
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Avocados
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Basil
    • Cinnamon
    • Coconut oil
    • Coffee, preferably black
    • Dark chocolate in very small amounts
    • Ginger
    • Honey
    • Hummus, or ingredients to make it
    • Italian seasoning
    • Mint
    • Nutmeg
    • Olives, preferably low-salt
    • Olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
    • Oregano
    • Parsley
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Rosemary
    • Sage
    • Tea, all types
    • Thyme
    • White wine vinegar
    • Wine, preferably red
  • Pantry items: It’s good to have certain items on hand for cooking and baking. Research recipes before you shop so you’ll know what to keep stocked.
    • Almond, soy, or cashew milk, unsweetened varieties
    • Arrowroot
    • Baking powder
    • Baking soda
    • Broth, preferably low-sodium
    • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
    • Pepper
    • Sea salt
    • Sundried tomatoes
    • Tomato paste
    • Tomato sauce
    • Vanilla extract

 

Now that you’re familiar with the Mediterranean diet food list, it’s time to get started! Whether you make gradual changes over time or go “cold turkey,” you’ll find that this diet is very easy to stick with, and that it is an enjoyable one for the entire family – particularly when you slow down and really savor your meals. With a little help from a good recipe book or two, you’ll soon transform your way of eating and start to enjoy better health as time goes by. Happy eating!

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684452/

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/mediterranean-diet-topic-overview#1

http://www.mediterraneandiet.com/

https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/mediterranean-diet-00884

http://www.chewfo.com/diets/the-mediterranean-diet-cookbook-by-rockridge-press-2013-food-list-what-to-eat-and-foods-to-avoid/

http://www.eatthis.com/mediterranean-diet/

https://www.healthbeckon.com/mediterranean-diet/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan

 

 

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