The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional diets of people living near the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, France, Greece, and Spain. It typically involves consuming more fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes (beans!), nuts, seeds, high-quality fats, and seafood. Since its focus is on fresh, minimally processed foods, there is some research to suggest that the Mediterranean diet may support weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, and strokes. Read on for more about the Mediterranean diet, and how we’re leaning into this nourishing diet with our January menu launch.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet varies from country to country, so there’s not a set plan or inclusive list of foods for this way of eating. Having said that, there are some commonly incorporated foods, including:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Herbs and spices
- Extra virgin olive oil
It typically includes moderate consumption of:
- Red wine
It recommends limiting the following:
- Red meat
- Sugar-sweetened drinks
- Added sugar (any sugar that isn’t naturally-occuring)
- Processed meat
- Refined grains
- Processed food in general
Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Over the years, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a range of health benefits. The large reason for this is likely the diet’s focus on unprocessed, real ingredients and its inclusion of lots of polyphenol and antioxidant-rich foods in the form of fruits and veggies and healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados.
Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet may support weight loss thanks to its focus on fiber and healthy fats, which support satiety and may help you limit your snacking.
It’s also been associated with balanced blood sugar levels. This is important whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve your heart health, support your brain’s health, or keep yourself metabolically healthy (and really, the list goes on!). With its focus on fresh foods, veggies (hi fiber!) and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet may help improve the main markers of blood sugar, including fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, and fasting insulin.
Along the same lines, the Mediterranean diet may also protect your brain and support your heart’s health. In part, it can improve heart health by preventing plaque buildup, one of the major risk factors of heart disease, and by lowering blood pressure.
Should you follow a Mediterranean diet?
The answer is that it depends! We love the main tenets, like incorporating lots of plants and healthy fats. But don’t let rigid dietary guidelines get in the way of you following the way of eating that works best for you! You may find that taking pieces of the Mediterranean diet, like eating more vegetables and healthy fats, but also incorporating other foods (see my examples next) might help you feel your best.
For example, you may find that you need more protein than the Mediterranean diet suggests, whether for weight loss, satiety, performance, or other reasons. You might also find you need to limit grains, or that the immense nutrients in red meat give you the nourishment you need to thrive. Regardless, we’ll be here for you with meals that work for you no matter your dietary lifestyle.
If you are interested in incorporating some of the Mediterranean diet principles, Chef Lorena has outdone herself with our latest menu launch. It’s filled with Mediterranean-inspired, delicious meals that will help you reach your goals.
This bowl serves up lots of Mediterranean flair with marinated and seared beef ribeye, all the veggies, a rice/quinoa mix, our spiced feta cheese, and housemade dill cream sauce to add a bite of creamy freshness.
Our take on the classic chicken kabob. House marinated then grilled chicken is served on a bed of saffron rice and fresh grilled veggies, then paired with our spiced feta and dill cream sauce.
Harissa marinated and grilled salmon is paired with roasted saffron cauliflower with golden raisins and toasted, sliced almonds, then served with our house-made herb yogurt cream for a tangy, fresh burst of flavor.
This grilled salmon is simply-seasoned with sea salt and black pepper for light but satisfying versatility. Pair it with any of our sides or add it to a salad!
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