The Mediterranean diet is a true treasure for our health. In addition, following a low-calorie Mediterranean diet has proven benefits. Next, we will discover what we must take into account to make it healthy, effective and pleasant. Take note!
The Mediterranean diet, a source of health
There are many benefits that the Mediterranean diet brings to our health. Most of them associated with the prevention of chronic diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high triglycerides and cholesterol, among others.
Over the past decades, the Mediterranean diet has been the subject of a large number of scientific studies. Among them , the Predimed study (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) stands out. In it, the effects of this eating pattern were studied in a total of 7,400 patients who were followed for 5 years.
Predimed-plus, hypocaloric Mediterranean diet
“Following a Mediterranean diet low in calories and practicing physical activity on a daily basis helps to lose weight, reduce cardiovascular risk and also maintain these benefits after one year in patients with overweight or obesity and metabolic syndrome”
This is the main conclusion of the Predimed-plus study, in which it was also observed that the patients who followed this dietary pattern presented “ improvements in the control parameters of glucose metabolism, its lipid profile and some inflammation markers; regarding the patients who did not follow him ” .
And these results are encouraging to face the increasing rates of overweight and obesity that have been registered in Spain in recent decades. Adherence to the diet (being able to follow it for a long time) is a key point to be able to maintain its long-term benefits and really improve our state of health.
Now that we know the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and how a diet with fewer calories can help our health, let’s see how we put it into practice.
The 5 key points of the Mediterranean hypocaloric diet
A calorie restriction cannot be done at the expense of the quality of our diet or the balance of macronutrients. In addition, it is important to keep the basic principles of the Mediterranean diet intact so as not to lose its beneficial effects.
To avoid making mistakes that can harm our health, we will follow these 5 basic tips. In this way, our hypocaloric Mediterranean diet will be a success.
1. Vegetables, protagonists of our meals
Vegetables, greens, and fruits are great sources of antioxidants, fiber, and valuable vitamins. These nutrients can help us prevent cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
In a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet, vegetables should be one of the bases of our diet. If they represent about half of what we eat and have dinner, it is a good portion.
A trick not to fail: eat a good salad or some roasted vegetables as a first course. They are light, they help us hydrate and eliminate fluids. On the other hand, well chewed, they have a satiating effect thanks to the fiber they provide.
There are many vegetables with which to make salads and other very varied dishes. Some options are:
We only have to watch the extra ingredients, since if we add a lot of cheese, tuna, corn, olives or pasta, they will no longer be low-calorie dishes.
Read more: 5 low-calorie sauces for your salads
2. Nutritious breakfasts
To follow a low calorie Mediterranean diet, it is not necessary to restrict any food. At breakfast time we can opt for a toast of whole wheat bread with tomato and olive oil , accompanied by a bit of Serrano ham, tuna or a slice of cheese.
Another more than healthy option is to make a bowl of yogurt or natural kefir with fresh cut fruit and a handful of nuts.
In any case, we will try to avoid white bread, breakfast cereals, cookies or soluble cocoa. They usually have large amounts of sugar and are very palatable foods that can make us hungrier after a while.
3. Eggs, legumes and fish: sources of protein
To accompany the vegetables, it is best to choose a good quality protein source. Blue or white fish and eggs are low calorie foods that we can cook in a healthy way. In addition, foods rich in protein have a satiating effect that will leave us full for longer.
The fish can be cooked in the oven, grilled or steamed, and seasoned with spices or fresh herbs to give an extra touch of flavor. Eggs can be cooked or in an omelette.
Legumes also provide us with good proteins, as well as fiber and minerals. They have always been part of the Mediterranean diet; however, now its consumption is being lost. Therefore, it is important to recover it, since they are very beneficial for our health.
We can add them to our salad, two or three days a week, and we get a complete and nutritious combined dish.
4. The fats, always present in the diet.
Fats are one of the nutrients that contribute the most energy to our diet. But they are also an essential nutrient for the proper functioning of our body.
So it is not advisable to eliminate fats from the diet even if it is low-calorie diets. The main thing is to make a good choice and not go overboard with the quantities.
The olive oil extra virgin (EVOO) is one of the healthiest fats you can find. So this will be our choice when it comes to cooking and dressing our dishes daily. We can make delicious homemade vinaigrettes with lemon or orange juice, vinegar and fresh herbs.
Nuts also provide us with healthy monounsaturated fats. In addition, they exert a satiating effect and provide a good amount of fiber, ideal for regulating our intestinal transit. A handful a day for breakfast or a snack will suffice. It is best if they are raw or toasted. No fried, salted or special cocktails to snack on.
5. Healthy and light food also between meals
If you are one of those people who need to eat something mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or you know that you will be unable to eat for many hours, you have to plan well. Otherwise, we may fall into the temptation to eat the first thing we have on hand, and that many times are often not recommended options.
Anticipating the situation and preparing something light is the best idea so as not to break the hypocaloric Mediterranean diet. A piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, a natural yogurt or some vegetable sticks with hummus are the best possible choice.
Have you already taken your notes? Now we can get down to work and really take care of ourselves with the Mediterranean diet. Of course, we suggest you accompany it with physical exercise and good lifestyle habits.