Why you should try the Mediterranean Diet this summer
Italy and all the countries around the Mediterranean are home to sunny places, incredible sea and delicious dishes that are incredibly healthy, as well. Because of the good amount of raw vegetables, simple cooking and fresh tastes, there is any better moment to start your Mediterranean diet than the summer!
Fresh Vegetables and low fat:
the keys of the healthy diet
When you hear “diet”, you cannot but think to something related to restrictions and weight loss. However, in spite of its name, the Mediterranean diet could not be further from that. Rather, it is a series of habits and advice taken from the dietary patterns of people living around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italian, Greek and Spanish.
Although it is different from country to country, all the dietary habits of this countries have so much in common, such as:
- Great intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes and Pasta
- Use of Extra Virgin of Olive Oil instead of fatty condiments (butter, refined oils)
- Preference for poultry and seafood as protein sources
- Low intake of Red or Cured Meat
- Moderate consumption of dairy and eggs
- No consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or highly-processed food
The Mediterranean Diet as lifestyle also include regular physical activity and, even most important, sharing meals with family or friends and enjoying time while at the table since strong social ties are a cornerstone of healthful lives. (Let us reveal a secret: a glass of red wine while eating with friends is completely fine when you follow Mediterranean diet!)
Does Pasta make you fat? We don't think so!
Many Americans (or foreigners in general) think that because of the pretty high amount of Pasta and carbs, Mediterranean diet is not healthy. However, several studies have shown the opposite and it has been demonstrated that the populations in the Mediterranean area lives longer and healthier than anyone else.
Because of the high amount of raw vegetables and the low intake of red meat, saturated fat and sugar, it offers health benefits such as reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Researchers have also found that people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet may live a longer life and be less likely to put on weight.
What about Pasta? It’s true that Pasta MIGHT be responsible of weight gain, but it all depends on how you eat it. First of all, Pasta must be eaten al dente: the longer the cooking time, the higher the glycemic index of your Pasta. So, cook it al dente and it will be better for your taste and for your belly, too. Second: carefully choose the seasoning. A dish with Pasta and fresh veggies is definitely ok, a dish with heavy cream or bacon is not the best if you want to take care of your waistline. Third: portions. Nobody in Italy eat huge Pasta portions and that is the reason why it doesn’t make us fat.
A diet with effortless and simple meals
Another fantastic point about the Mediterranean Diet is the simplicity of its cooking: to keep calories low, people around the Mediterranean tends to prefer easy preparations such as steaming or grilling and avoid frying or deep frying.
This way, vegetables and food in general lose only a small portion of their nutrients, being therefore really healthy. Further, nobody really loves to stay around the stove or, even worse, the oven when it’s awfully hot outside: including more and more Mediterranean recipes in your summery menu will allow you to skip long cooking when you don’t really want to.
For this reason and for the wide fruit and vegetable choice you have in the hottest season, there is really any better moment to start eating Mediterranean: you will enjoy always diverse, colorful and crave-worthy recipes… and they are healthy, too!
Quick and Easy Mediterranean recipes
to start cooking sooner
So, we convinced you, but you are puzzled about all the different options you have? Here is a short list you can copy or get inspired by to start your Mediterranean diet now and enjoy the flavors of this warm, sunny cuisine from the comfort of your home.
- Caprese Salad The perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry. Slices of Mozzarella with just-picked tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, oregano and – sometimes, a few leaves of arugula.
- Grilled shrimp with Avocado Shrimp takes less time to marinate and less time to cook than most any other meat, chicken or fish. We suggest a simple marinade with lemon and Extra virgin olive oil and then grilling them. Perfectly if sided with Avocado!
- Pasta with Pesto Easy and Veg-friendly, Pasta with Pesto in unmissable in every Mediterranean Diet. If you want to take it low-cal, reduce the amount of Pasta and add loads of zucchini, string beans and potatoes to make you feel fuller even without so much Pasta!
- Pasta salad with Veggies Pasta salad with veggies is the perfect solution to eat outside, when on a trip or when invited to neighborhood potluck.
- Greek Salad Made with Olives, Feta cheese and fresh salad (and all the healthy ingredients you may want to add!). You literally need three minutes to cook it, so that you have more time to enjoy your summer evenings.
Ice-cream with Fresh fruit A dessert or afternoon snack perfect for those incredibly hot summer days. Make the full of vitamins with the fruit and get fresh with a small scoop of ice-cream. Note: prefer artisanal, high quality ice-cream that are more similar to the one produced in Italy.
... So what are you starting with?