Mediterranean Diet Foods

The Mediterranean Diet is of course a diet that involves emulating the way that people eat on the European continent. The diet became popular ever since it was found that people who ate a Mediterranean Diet actually lived longer and experienced a lower incidence of heart disease and other issues.

And at first this surprised researchers – after all, the Mediterranean Diet mainly consists of eating fats (olive oil and cheese) and wine! These are things that are traditionally thought to be bad for us.

Upon further inspection it happens that in moderation – and when combined with a nutrient rich diet – they can actually be beneficial.

So what exactly is this nutrient rich diet? How do you eat like a Mediterranean? What foods are on the menu? Let’s take a look…

Salads

One of the mainstays of a Mediterranean Diet is salad. Salad is highly nutritious and provides the body with lots of iron, calcium and other minerals. At the same time, it also helps to bulk up a meal without adding many calories.

One of the very best salads out there for the Mediterranean Diet is Greek salad. This meal consists purely of chopped tomato, cucumber, pepper and feta cheese with a little oil drizzled on top!

Fish

Being near the warm Mediterranean means being near tons of fish. And as it happens, fish is actually incredibly good for you.

The biggest benefit of eating lots of fish is that it will provide lots of essential fatty acids and amino acids without adding too many calories. Fish is lean. Fish is great for the brain, it keeps you full and is all round an excellent option.

Try some calamari to enjoy sea food at its finest!

Seeds and Nuts

On the Mediterranean Diet, a lot of dishes include seeds and nuts for flavouring (alongside lots of herbs). This is a great addition to any diet for numerous reasons once again.

For starters, seeds and nuts keep us full and make a brilliant snack that won’t pack on calories. At the same time, they also provide us with nutrients (zinc, potassium, magnesium) and really make any salad a lot more delicious!

Fruits and Vegetables

Living in a sunny climate also facilitates lots of berries, grapes, tomatoes and root vegetables being ripe for the picking and for adding to the diet. This is a big cornerstone of a Mediterranean Diet and is one of the biggest ‘secrets’ when it comes to making sure that you enjoy a long, healthy lifespan without getting ill!

Fats

Finally, the Mediterranean Diet contains all of the healthy kinds of fats, most notably extra virgin olive oil. That means saturated fats (not trans fats!) which aid in testosterone production while also enhancing nutrient absorption and improving cholesterol!

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Virgin olive oil promotes wound healing

Virgin olive oil promotes wound healing – More benefits of virgin olive oil from the University of Jaén

Scientists at the University of Jaén (UJA) have described that ‘squalene’, one of the main minor components of virgin olive oils, has positive effects on wound healing and tissue repair.

The study published in the journal ‘Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ explains that virgin olive oil has positive effects on macrophages, immune cells that play an important role in recovery and healing.

The UJA Professor of Immunology and researcher responsible for the study, José Juan Gaforio, explained that two types of macrophages are involved in wound healing, the so-called M1 and M2. The former are pro-inflammatory in nature and the latter anti-inflammatory. The latter effects are vital for the definitive resolution of wounds. “Basically, squalene enhances the anti-inflammatory effects of macrophages, which would help in the last stages of wound resolution and healing”, indicated José Juan Gaforio in a note.

In this research, together with Gaforio, Cristina Sánchez Quesada and Alicia López Biedma, researchers from the Immunology Area and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Olive Groves and Olive Oils of the UJA, as well as Estefanía Toledo, researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Navarra.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

This refreshing salad is full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals but also rich in healthy monounsaturated fat from a trio of avocado, olives, and super-healthy Olé extra virgin olive oil.

It is easy to make. With a combination of artichoke hearts, cucumber, red onion, hearts of palm, tomatoes, and fresh basil, this salad has a delicious Mediterranean twist that you’re going to love.

Ingredients
Lemon Vinaigrette
• 1/4 cup Lemon juice
• 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
• Himalayan pink salt (to taste)

Chopped Salad
• 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
• 1/2 cup hearts of palm, chopped
• 1/2 cup Persian cucumber, chopped
• 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olives, chopped
• 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
• 1/2 of an avocado, chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

Directions
1. To make the vinaigrette: Add ingredients to high-speed blender and blend until emulsified. Add salt to taste.

2. In a large salad bowl, combine cucumber, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, tomatoes, olives, onion, capers, avocado, and basil.

3. Toss salad with enough vinaigrette to coat everything. Serve and enjoy.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups

*From: Shape Magazine

 

 

 

 

Mediterranean tuna and bean salad

This tuna and bean salad is packed with protein and fiber and is quick to prepare. For extra flavor, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne.

Ingredients:

– 8 cups mixed salad greens
– 1 15- to 19-ounce can beans (feel free to use, chickpeas, rinsed kidney beans or black-eyed peas)
– 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
– 2 5-ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained and flaked
– ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
– ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
– 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
– ½ cup lemon juice, divided into 2
– 4 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
– Freshly ground pepper
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– Sea salt

Serves 4

Procedure:

1. Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, ¼ cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl.

2. Season with pepper.

3. Combine the remaining ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and salt in a large bowl.

4. Add salad greens; toss to coat.

5. Divide the greens among 4 plates.

6. Top each with the tuna salad.

Enjoy!

Recipe from: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2009

 

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chicken Recipe

With 20 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook, this fresh and healthy recipe serves four and is sure to impress.

Ingredients:
-Coarse salt
-1 bunch spinach, tough stems removed
-1 cup packed Fresh Basil leaves
-3 tablespoons pine nuts
-1 garlic clove, peeled
-Fine sea salt
-6 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
-1 pound strozzapreti (or other short pasta)
-2 1/2 cups roasted chicken, finely shredded, at room temperature
-Olé extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
-2 ounces ricotta cheese, very thinly sliced

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Combine the spinach, basil, pine nuts, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt in a food processor.
3. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow and steady stream; stiring until smooth.
4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente.
5. Keep 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, then add it back to the pot off the heat.
6. Immediately add the pesto and chicken, and stir to combine thoroughly.
7. Moisten with 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid, or more, if desired.

**Serve immediately, drizzled with a touch of Olé extra virgin olive oil and topped with the cheese and extra salt to taste.

 

 

Spinach Pesto Pasta

Coconut-Vegetable and Cashew curry

cococurry

A delicious and exotic one-hour meal.
Recipe from “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian”

Ingredients
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cups diced (½ inch) unpeeled eggplant (about 8 ounces)
1 can (15–16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups ½-inch cauliflower florets (from ½ small head, cored and thick stems removed)
1 cup diced (½ inch) carrot
1 cup diced (½ inch) onion
1 cup ½-inch lengths green beans (about 4 ounces)
2–3 tsp. minced seeded jalapeño or serrano pepper, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 can (13.5 ounces) regular or light coconut milk
½ cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted cashews
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup Olé extra virgin olive oil

Directions
1. Heat the Olé extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes

2. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until they are slightly darker (approx. 2 minutes).

3. Add the chickpeas and eggplant and cook, over medium-high heat while sturring for 5 minutes.

4. Add the carrot, onion, green beans, cauliflower, jalapeño, ginger, curry powder, garlic, salt and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for five minutes, maintaining a steady sizzle.

5. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until thickened and the vegetables are tender, (approx. 10 minutes).

6. Spoon the curry into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the cilantro and cashews and serve.

Enjoy!

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

** Find Olé extra virgin olive oil on Amazon!

Homemade pizza sauce with Olé extra virgin olive oil

Who doesn’t like pizza?  How about making your own delicious pizza sauce using Olé extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:

1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil

Procedure:

1. In a large saucepan combine tomato puree, diced tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil

2. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until sauce is thickened (about 30 minutes)

3. Stir in Olé extra virgin olive oil into tomato sauce and simmer until hot, (1 to 2 more minutes)

Enjoy!