The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that lowers the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. The diet follows an eating plan rich in fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet also includes foods that have healthy fats, and sometimes even chocolates and red wine.
The diet plan discourages the consumption of processed foods, red meat, added sugars and other similar unhealthy food items. Such a diet plan is famous for the benefits that it can give to improve heart health.
However, recent studies suggest that the new green Mediterranean diet is better than the classic Mediterranean Diet. The former is strictly a vegetarian diet that avoids all meat and gets compensated with more greens.
One must eat healthy to avoid lifestyle diseases that can make life difficult. However, prevention is always better and more accessible than cure. So, learning about such healthy diet plans and following them can help eliminate any potential health risks you may face.
For example, a green Mediterranean diet improves cardiovascular health, decreases the potential risk of diabetes, and decreases cancer risk. And to get such good health results, you must eat greens and stop yourself from following an unhealthy lifestyle.
Green Mediterranean Diet – An Introduction
The green Mediterranean diet is a greener alternative to the Mediterranean diet, low in calories and carbohydrates and rich in fibres, proteins and omega-3 fatty acids.
The Classic Mediterranean Diet involves consuming meat, fish, poultry, etc. A green Mediterranean diet avoids such animal-based food products and replaces them with more green foods that are rich in protein, fibre, and other nutrients.
In addition, some studies show that this greener form of the Mediterranean diet can amplify the heart health and metabolism benefits that the traditional form of the diet plan provides.
The HealthifyMe Note
The green Mediterranean diet with more plant-based food items with the avoidance of red meat and poultry can be a better diet plan for cardiovascular and metabolic health when compared to the traditional Mediterranean diet. Additionally, the green Mediterranean diets have low sugar and calorie content, an abundance of fibre, proteins, and several certain minerals and vitamins that can help with fat loss.
Components of a Green Mediterranean Diet
- Vegetables: spinach, onions, mushrooms, arugula, sweet potatoes, broccoli rabe, eggplant, kale, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, squash, garlic, cabbage, cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers, turnips, beets, leeks, artichokes, fennel.
- Fruits: grapes, avocados, lemons, olives, pomegranate, oranges, berries, apricots, apples, plums, figs, grapefruit, melons, peaches, and pears.
- Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, hazelnuts
- Legumes: peanuts, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas.
- Grains: quinoa, pasta, barley, wheat berries, buckwheat, millet, polenta, whole-grain bread, oats, bulgur, farro, and rice.
- Condiments and spices: olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, dill, thyme, cumin, rosemary, avocado oil, mint, cloves, parsley, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, red wine, oregano, vinegar, pepper, honey, salt, ginger, sage, cayenne, turmeric, basil
- Plant-Based Snacks: Consuming plant-based snacks as part of the green Mediterranean diet, like hummus, tahini with roasted veggies, and bean-based pasta, are healthy and tasty alternatives to unhealthy snacks.
- Walnuts: Consuming walnuts can provide you with the benefits of good fats and plant-based protein. The good fats include Omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats, which can make you feel satiated.
- Green Smoothies: Drinking green smoothies with a dose of plant-based protein is an excellent item to include in the green Mediterranean diet. Some plant-based proteins are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and contain chia, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
- Green Tea: Including three cups of green tea daily in a green Mediterranean diet is recommended. Green tea contains natural compounds like polyphenols that can help fight inflammation and cancer. Polyphenols are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower the risks of chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
- Duckweed: This aquatic plant should be included in a green Mediterranean diet as it contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If unavailable, you can substitute duckweed with flax chia or hemp seeds. These food items are also good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of the Green Mediterranean Diet
Helps Reduce Risk of Heart Diseases
Many studies have confirmed that a green Mediterranean diet is better than its traditional form for improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart diseases.
The consumption of a plant-based diet that is low in calories helps lower the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, heart blocks, and stroke. In addition, following such a diet also helps people have lower cardiovascular disease risk factors like central obesity.
A plant-based diet plan rich with nuts and olive oil is the reason behind the heart health benefits that the green Mediterranean diet provides. This diet plan, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, can lower the bad LDL cholesterol while increasing the good HDL cholesterol.
They can also improve insulin resistance. Furthermore, the fruit and vegetables that are the actual contents of this diet plan are rich in fibre and antioxidants, which can further provide cardioprotective effects.
Helps Manage Body Weight
Since the green Mediterranean diet follows a low-calorie diet plan rich in fruits and vegetables, it can promote a healthy weight. In addition, this fibre-rich diet plan stabilises sugar levels, prevents glucose intolerance and keeps you full, making you less likely to gain weight.
The results may be slow, but they are more effective and long-term than any other diet plan claiming to help people achieve quick weight loss.
Furthermore, this fibre-rich diet also helps improve the body’s overall metabolic health. Increasing metabolism will help to have good energy and will help in weight loss. You will also get a better sleep when your metabolism improves as your body burns more calories during sleep.
May Help Reduce Risk of Cancer
The green Mediterranean diet contains several food items rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants can stop or slow oxidative damage and reduce inflammation. It is also why antioxidants are often said to reduce the risk of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Some studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean diet plan can reduce the risk of gastric, breast, and colorectal cancer. The benefit was because of the higher consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which are the key ingredients of the green Mediterranean diet.
Helps Improve Gut Health
The green Mediterranean diet follows a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits rich in protein, fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
These nutrients can provide the gut with beneficial probiotic bacteria, improving its health by enhancing the digestive process, killing any harmful germs and toxins, etc.
These bacteria also help in reducing inflammation. Improved gut health also improves mental health, which thus is another benefit of the green Mediterranean diet.
Improves Brain Health and Prevent Related Diseases
The green Mediterranean diet is good for brain health as well. The eating pattern followed in the diet plan helps reduce memory decline as you age.
The diet plan can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and even depression. Increased carotenoid antioxidants in fruits and vegetables on a green Mediterranean diet can also help improve mood and optimism.
The HealthifyMe Note
The health benefits of the green Mediterranean diet are similar to the benefits of its traditional diet method. However, the benefits are more pronounced in the former as it avoids unnecessary saturated fats from meat-based products.
Green Mediterranean Diet Vs. Classic Mediterranean Diet – Which is Better?
The Classic Mediterranean diet ranks the No.1 diet plan for providing the most health benefits, including cardiovascular health, weight loss, brain health, cancer and diabetes prevention.
But now, researchers believe this traditional Mediterranean diet’s green form is healthier than the classic one. The study proves that the green Mediterranean diet can provide all the health benefits offered by the conventional diet plan but with much better results.
The Mediterranean diet can provide many benefits and improve your metabolism. But the best is undoubtedly the green Mediterranean diet, so if you do not mind going for an entirely plant-based diet plan, this would be the best option for you as it provides all the health benefits with better results.
Furthermore, this diet plan is also not that hard to follow as most food items included in the eating plan are readily available. Moreover, this diet is very nutritious as it contains vitamin D, B12, protein, and fibres.
So, if you want to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health or save yourself from diabetes, you can confidently take the green Mediterranean diet.
Frequently Added Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods are in the green Mediterranean diet?
A. The green Mediterranean diet follows a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains, etc. The recommended food items for the diet plan are fruits like grapes, avocados, lemons, olives, pomegranate, figs, etc., vegetables like spinach, onions, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc., olive oil, nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, etc., whole grains, adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, green peas, lentils, barley, brown rice, millet, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and pasta.
Q. What foods are not allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
A. The following food items are entirely avoided while on a Mediterranean diet:
- Processed red meat and food items like hot dogs, sausage and bacon
- Heavily processed food items like candies, sodas, sugary beverages, processed cheeses, frozen meals with sodium, etc.
- Refined grains like white pasta, white bread, products with white flour, etc.
- Hydrogenated or refined oils like canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, etc.
Q. Is green tea on the Mediterranean diet?
A. Green tea is a delicious beverage that can turn your classic Mediterranean diet green. You can have three to four cups of green tea daily for good results. Green tea contains natural compounds like polyphenols that can help fight inflammation and cancer. Polyphenols are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower the risks of chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Q. What is the healthiest green food?
A. One of the healthiest among the different green foods is spinach. Spinach contains several nutrients like vitamin C, E, K, A, B6, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese and potassium. As a result, it can reduce blood sugar, helps lose weight, reduce hypertension, and prevent cancer.
Q. How do I start a green diet?
A. If you are a meat lover who may suddenly find it difficult to switch to a plant-based diet, you can start a green diet at a slow pace. First, you can reduce the amount of meat and other animal products you eat daily and switch it up with more and more plant-based products. Then, with each passing day, add more and more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other greens to your eating plan, and with enough time, you can take up a complete green diet.
Q. What kind of cheese is allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
A. Greek yoghurt and feta cheese native to the Mediterranean region is the most recommended cheese in the Mediterranean diet. Some other healthy cheese that you can take upon the Mediterranean diet includes brie, chevre, corvo, feta, haloumi, manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, and ricotta.
Q. Is peanut butter OK on the Mediterranean diet?
A. Peanut butter and peanuts are good food items for the Mediterranean diet. It is because peanut butter is an excellent plant-based protein with high levels of unsaturated fats. However, eat peanut butter in moderation while following a Mediterranean diet.
Q. Can I lose weight on the Mediterranean diet?
A. The Mediterranean diet is one of the best plans for losing weight and promoting healthy body weight. This diet plan has shown to be better at providing weight loss compared to low-fat diets. In addition, the results provided by this diet plan are long-term.
Q. Can you lose weight on a green diet?
A. A green diet can help in weight loss. Food items like spinach, kale, and lettuce are excellent for burning belly fat and helping lose weight. Such a diet plan also improves metabolism, which can help lose body weight and encourage healthy weight. In addition, a green diet is not restrictive and enables you to stay in shape for the longer term.
Q. What meats are allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
A. Fish is the most used and the kind of animal mal that is allowed on a Mediterranean diet. Poultry is also allowed on the diet plan. However, you must choose white meat, especially when it is grilled, baked or broiled.