The Mediterranean diet is an extremely popular diet that consists of foods from all over the world, especially in these three countries: Spain, Greece, and Italy. The many foods and ingredients that go into the Mediterranean diet allow people to enjoy all kinds of eccentric and delicious meals thoroughly.

Whether you are heading to Mediterranean restaurants or ordering falafel from the comfort of your home, if you’re curious about the Mediterranean diet, you should know what foods and ingredients are involved.

Mediterranean foods

Mediterranean foods on a table

Best Foods from the Mediterranean Diet:

1. Chickpeas and hummus

Chickpeas and hummus are perhaps one of the most recognizable foods of the Mediterranean diet, chickpeas can be easily paired with all kinds of other delicious snacks. If eaten daily and paired with various grains and starches, chickpeas can provide plenty of dietary benefits, as well, providing protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and folate.

2. Almonds

Research has shown that eating almonds before working out can help you shed unwanted pounds a lot faster. Almonds are not only great for losing weight but can also be used as a nut butter to construct all kinds of other tasty dishes.

3. Ezekiel bread

Ezekiel bread is a sprouted ancient grain bread made with no sugar. At certain Mediterranean restaurants, you can order either Ezekiel bread classic sliced or tortilla wraps.

4. Broccoli Rabe

Though it might seem like an Italian dish, broccoli rabe is a big part of the Mediterranean diet. Broccoli rabe provides plenty of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, fiber, and even cancer-fighting isothiocyanates and indoles.

5. Greek pasta bake

This is an entire Mediterranean dish that is terrific for potlucks and big family meals. All the ingredients for this contest-winning pasta mean are easy to find and can result in a simple, healthy, and hearty dish.

Mediterranean diet foods

Mediterranean diet foods with plant-based fruits and vegetables

Why is the Mediterranean Diet so Healthy?

The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest dietary patterns in the world. Even doctors recommend adding Mediterranean foods to the diet plan. Here are some health benefits of the Mediterranean diet:

1. Rich in Plant Foods:

Mediterranean diet is primarily plant-based, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

2. Healthy Fats:

Olive oil, a primary source of fat in the mediterranean diet, is rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid. These fats have been associated with improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

3. Emphasis on Fish and Lean Proteins:

Fish, especially fatty varieties like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation. Lean proteins like poultry and legumes provide essential nutrients without excessive saturated fats.

4. Moderate Dairy Consumption:

Dairy products, particularly yogurt and cheese, are consumed in moderation in the Mediterranean-style diet. They provide calcium, protein, and probiotics, which are beneficial for bone health and gut health.

5. Limited Red Meat:

Red meat is consumed sparingly in the Mediterranean-style diet, with a focus on leaner sources of protein like poultry and fish. This helps reduce intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems.

6. Wine in Moderation:

Moderate consumption of red wine, typically consumed with meals in Mediterranean cultures, has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease due to its antioxidant properties, particularly resveratrol. However, it’s important to note that excessive alcohol consumption can have negative health effects.

7. Promotes Social and Cultural Aspects of Eating:

The Mediterranean diet isn’t just about the foods themselves but also about the lifestyle and social aspects surrounding meals. Enjoying meals with family and friends, savoring food slowly, and taking pleasure in the dining experience can contribute to overall well-being and mental health.

8. Scientific Evidence:

Numerous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Its positive effects on longevity and overall health have been consistently supported by scientific research.

Overall, the Mediterranean diet’s emphasis on whole, minimally processed foods, healthy fats, and a balanced approach to eating contributes to its reputation as a highly beneficial and sustainable dietary pattern.

Best Mediterranean Food Restaurant Near Me

There are so many more foods that you can enjoy if you’re adhering to the Mediterranean diet, including eggplant, lemons, peppers, shrimp, quinoa, skyr, and so much more. If you want to learn more about any of these delicious meals to enjoy some of the best Mediterranean food Houston has to offer, or check out some amazing Mediterranean restaurants — head down to Aladdin Houston right away!