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!

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

 

 

 

 

Tomato Basil Pasta with Olé extra virgin olive oil

A simple delicious dish.  It refrigerates well and can be served as a cold pasta salad.

Ingredients

2 cups diced tomatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped

6 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

6 leaves fresh basil, torn

10 ounces fusilli pasta

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Stir tomatoes, onion, Olé extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and basil together in a bowl
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook fusilli in the boiling water, occasionally stirring, until cooked through but firm to the bite, (approximately 12 minutes)
  3. Drain
  4. Toss warm pasta with feta cheese and Parmesan in a large bowl
  5. Stir tomato mixture into pasta and season with salt and pepper

Enjoy!