The Mediterranean Diet often refers to the diet that countries in the Mediterranean Sea followed for years. Research has shown that people living in this part of the world had less weight management problems, posed better sugar levels, and suffered less from cancer and cardiovascular diseases than Americans.

This is because the diet is often associated with low levels of inflammation, which is the main culprit behind most diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

If you’re trying to figure out which diet can work best for you, we break down the difference between the paleo and ketogenic diets here. If you decide neither of those diets is for you, you can come back to this article later, and read about the 10 things you need to know about the Mediterranean diet below.

1. The basics of the Mediterranean diet consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, and whole grains.

2. Very rarely do people on a Mediterranean diet eat red meat, but they do consume cheese, eggs, yogurt, and poultry in moderation.

3. If you’re following this diet, you’re going to have to get rid of added sugars, artificially sweetened beverages, processed meat, and refined oils and grains.

4. When it comes to drinking, you will most consume water, but studies have found that people in the Mediterranean consume at least one glass of red wine per day.

5. Grab some fruit for dessert – they’re fresh, they’ll happily and healthily indulge your sweet tooth, and they’re rich in antioxidants and fiber. If you’re only starting to cut out salty foods, then grab for apples as your midday snack instead.

6. It doesn’t have to be expensive! Learn how to compromise, grab that $15 bottle of wine instead of the $35 one. Check out what’s on sale in the produce section and make the most off of those.

7. You don’t have to be scared of the cheese, olive oil, and avocado in the Mediterranean diet – they’re rich sources of healthy fat that actually do wonders for your weight loss journey!

8. You also have to be mindful of your calorie intake, and make sure that you burn off more than you consume.

9. Because the Mediterranean diet is pretty popular, you won’t fall short of finding meal prep calendars or recipes that allow you to achieve your health goals. Some recipes won’t even cost you over $2 per serving.

10. When you dine out, make sure you always start with a salad and always opt for the dishes with the most vegetables in it! And yes, you can order that glass of wine for dinner.

The Mediterranean diet is at par with the American Heart Association diet, which is suited for patients with high levels of lipids and suggests consuming between 25 to 35 percent of the total calories from fat (the former is at 25 to 40 percent). However, both diets suggest consuming just around 7 percent of the total calories from saturated fat, and 20 percent from monounsaturated fat.

You might be wondering what makes it a great diet. It’s because its food sources are not only rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, but the diet places great emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, regular exercises, and cutting sodium intake and processed meals.

A component of the Mediterranean diet that might confuse you is the fact that it doesn’t state serving sizes but instead tells you the macronutrient distribution. The diet centers around terms like “abundance,” “often,” “low intake,” and “moderate intake.” This gives you free reign over portion control, but if you’re someone who likes the convenience of knowing how many calories are in your food, you might stumble a bit in the beginning.

You should also note that if you’re prohibited from drinking because of substance abuse or because it interferes with your medication, you’re going to have to find an alternative to wine, which is highly encouraged as a part of the Mediterranean diet.

If you’re trying to lose weight, then the Mediterranean diet is probably one of the best plans to follow. You can still take weight loss pills when you’re on the meal plan, just make sure you get a head’s up from your physician to make sure these weight loss supplements won’t interfere with any existing medication.

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