For many of us, in the new year our focus shifts to healthy eating and weight loss. If you’ve been searching for a way to make a change, The Mediterranean Diet may be your answer. Widely acclaimed for its health benefits, it’s not only about what you eat, but how you eat it.
We’ve gathered everything you need to know about The Mediterranean Diet, all in one place, including a list of 30 heart-healthy Mediterranean diet dinner recipes that are a satisfying way to get healthy.
What Is The ‘Mediterranean Diet’?
The cuisine of the Mediterranean is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and is known for its extensive flavor profiles. Mostly plant-based, it features plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, lean proteins, healthy fats and dairy, and whole grains.
The Mediterranean Diet was developed as a diet lifestyle, based on the eating patterns and the traditional foods of the people and cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Unlike traditional diets, it’s not restrictive or structured in any way. It’s a delicious, healthy option for weight loss and staying healthy with a focus on flavor, and above all, the pleasure of eating.
What Are The Health Benefits of The Mediterranean Diet?
- Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke – Eating a Mediterranean-style diet can help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease in women. Olive oil and nuts, healthy fats that are a big part of the diet, help to improve cardiovascular health and blood flow.
- Lowers blood pressure – The Mediterranean Diet is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts, and fish, which contain anti-inflammatory plant compounds called polyphenols, which can help to lower blood pressure.
- Lowers cholesterol – Choose a Mediterranean diet if you’re focused on lowering your cholesterol. By optimizing your blood lipid levels, you can lower the bad cholesterol and boost the good cholesterol.
- May prevent Alzheimer’s – Eating a Mediterranean-style diet can boost your brain health. Numerous studies have shown that making this diet change can reduce your risk of mild cognitive impairment as well as reduce the chances of mild cognitive impairment advancing to Alzheimer’s.
- May prevent Type 2 Diabetes – Shown to improve the body’s ability to maintain stable blood glucose levels, The Mediterranean Diet can offer better glycemic control, helping to prevent and treat Type 2 Diabetes. Your body benefits from beneficial polyphenols in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
- May prevent certain cancers – You can help to reduce your chances of developing certain types of cancers by following a Mediterranean-style diet. The abundance of plant-based foods, fruits, and vegetables mean high levels of antioxidants. Containing plenty of bioactive compounds, extra virgin olive oil has anti-cancer properties.
- May ease depression and anxiety – With The Mediterranean Diet, you’ll get some mood-boosting benefits. By reducing added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and highly-processed foods, you can reduce your chances of both depression and anxiety.
- Good for your gut – Following a Mediterranean diet can help to promote greater gut bacteria diversity. This is because the diet is focused around plant-based foods like whole grains, olives, nuts, seeds, oils, legumes, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. And those plan-based foods are the key to enhancing the good bacteria in your gut.
- Can help maintain muscle and bone mass – As we age, muscle and bone loss are inevitable, and for women going through menopause or hormonal changes, the effects can be worse. Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean Diet can both improve your muscle mass as well as your bone density.
- Can help with weight loss and maintenance – With fiber-rich plant foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins, The Mediterranean Diet may aid with weight loss and maintenance, since these foods are packed with nutrition and incredibly filling.
15 Foods to Eat on The Mediterranean Diet
Ready to try The Mediterranean Diet? You’ll want to add these 15 foods to your grocery list.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Lean fish
- Lean poultry
- Organic spices
- Dairy (moderately)
4 Foods to Avoid on The Mediterranean Diet
Get prepped for the Mediterranean Diet with this list of 4 foods to avoid.
- Red meats
- Any processed foods
- Too much sugar and sweets
- Products that have a list of ingredients you can’t read or don’t understand
30 Mediterranean Diet Dinner Recipes
From stews and soups to pizzas and pasta, we’ve put together a list of our 30 favorite Mediterranean Diet dinner recipes.
- Baked Tilapia with Lemon | A Couple Cooks
- Italian Oven-Roasted Vegetables | Evolving Table
- Warm Sweet Potato Noodles, Cabbage, and Lentil Salad | Downshiftology
- Italian Chicken Wrap | Foodie Crush
- Juicy Mediterranean-Style Salmon Burgers | The Mediterranean Dish
- Greek Chickpea Soup | My Greek Dish
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad with Vegan Feta | Bianca Zapatka
- Quick Hummus Bowls | A Couple Cooks
- Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas | The Green Loot
- Braised Eggplant and Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish
- Zucchini Noodle Caprese | Downshiftology
- Mediterranean Hummus Bowl | Feel Good Foodie
- Italian Wedding Soup | Veggan Huggs
- Lebanese Rice with Vermicelli | The Mediterranean Dish
- Skinny Slow Cooker Kale and Turkey Meatball Soup | Foodie Crush
- Greek Vegan Spanakopita | Veggies Don’t Bite
- Mediterranean Pasta with Tomatoes & Vegan Feta | Cadry’s Kitchen
- Simple Mediterranean Olive Oil Pasta | The Mediterranean Dish
- Quinoa Stuffed Peppers | A Couple Cooks
- Margherita Pizza with Cashew Mozzarella | Vegan Richa
- Mediterranean Vegetable and Chickpea Stew | One Arab Vegan
- Eggplant Caponata | The Mediterranean Dish
- Mediterranean Lentil Soup | 30 Days of Greek Food
- Salmon with Capers | A Couple Cooks
- Simple Tuna Pasta | The Mediterranean Dish
- Easy Vegetarian Paella | A Couple Cooks
- Avocado Caprese Wrap | Foodie Crush
- Lentil Salad with Cucumber | Downshiftology
- Rosemary Roasted Vegetable Bowls | Destination Delish
- Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata | Country Living
The Mediterranean Diet won’t feel like a diet with these 30 Mediterranean Diet dinner recipes.
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