Fill Up On These Best Mediterranean Foods!
What makes the Mediterranean diet so unique is that it isn’t just one or two staple foods. Or the macro-nutrient ratios or anything like that. It comes down to just a coordinated effort. A symphony of different powerful anti-inflammatory things that work so well within the body. There’s a reason that the Mediterranean region is considered a blue zone. Where people live for a long period of time. They have adopted a lot of these principles that don’t just reflect in the diet. They reflect in their lifestyle, their family and everything like that. So we’re going to break down some of the best Mediterranean foods. That pack a powerful punch that we may not think of because we’re busy focusing on the mainstream things. Like the cheeses, the big cuts of fish and stuff like that. So let’s have some fun with this.
Antioxidants in Dandelion
When you look at the Mediterranean regions the greens that they’re using are different. Okay they’re using nutrient-dense greens. And one that I want to highlight that’s used a lot is dandelion. The dandelion has powerful, powerful anti-inflammatory effects. There’s one in particular called chicoric acid and another one called chlorogenic acid. And these are two acids have profound effects.
Now these two acids can play a role in down regulating something called prostaglandin. You know what that is? An inflammatory response within your body we don’t want that to be elevated. Because when that is elevated, it is sending a signal to alter or increase inflammatory responses within the body. So we have a powerful mechanism to keep inflammation at bay through these best Mediterranean foods. Dandelion tea is a super simple way to incorporate these antioxidants in your diet.
Olives along with Olive Oil
Next one I want to jump into is a little bit underrated. Okay look at olives. We don’t eat enough of them. We’ll consume our olive oil because they say that it’s healthy. And I’ll explain about olive oil in a second. But what about wholehearted just good olives? You’re getting the monounsaturated fat that you would get from the olive oil. But you’re getting it in its natural form right along with the antioxidants that come with the olive. And along with the fiber that comes with the olive. We’re talking about one particular antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol. Which is so powerful when it comes down to how it affects cholesterol.
Reduce Belly Fat with Olive Oil
Now let’s touch on olive oil for one second. Because olive oil is probably the most powerful oil that’s out there. And for people that do a lower carbs diet they typically kind of shun the olive oil. Because they’re focused on the coconut oil. Well don’t do that. Get that olive oil in. There’s an interesting study that was published in diabetes care. That showed when you consume 23 of your daily calories from olive oil which sounds like a lot. But it’s not that hard to do. There is a tremendous reduction in visceral fat. Visceral fat is the belly fat that’s underneath your belly that you don’t see. It’s what gives you a pot belly. It’s what causes a lot of issues because visceral fat is very inflammatory.
Feed Artichokes to Your Gut Bacteria
The next one is artichokes. What makes this special is there’s a very unique kind of fiber in it. It’s called a very long chain inulin. Now a very long chain inulin means when it goes into your gut it starts as a long chain fiber that has to get broken down. So you have gut bacteria that come in, they start to break it down. They break it down into smaller chunks.
Bacteria keep breaking down the fiber into smaller chunks. Till short chain fatty acids form. As sort of a byproduct. That is an additional energy source as a result of breaking down the fiber. What’s cool is the longer the chain of the fiber, the more diverse of the gut bacteria you get to feed and nourish. So very powerful and a very unique fiber. I definitely recommend you get that in no matter what kind of diet you’re doing.
Get Your Anthocyanins from Radicchio
Then we have radicchio which is basically a radish. Right that’s what we’ll call it here. Now they are super powerful. Because they’re rich in anthocyanins. Now anthocyanins the same kind of thing you’re going to find in a blueberry. And if you’ve seen my articles before I talked about the benefits of berries. Anthocyanins that have been demonstrated to be super powerful for the brain. Increasing levels of nerve growth factor. Helping new neurons grow. So these are some of the best Mediterranean foods that we forget to notice.
Lose Weight Through Cheeses
Now let’s jump to cheese hard. Aged cheeses, but mainly hard aged sheep and goat cheeses like pecorino romano and some forms of parmesan. These are really good too. But pecorino romano is unique. Because it’s very high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). There’s a lot of Mediterranean studies that look at conjugated linoleic acid as a powerful weight loss tool. But also being very good for the heart. It’s interesting because CLA is something that people take in supplemental form all the time. But that’s a synthetic form that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for naturally occurring form. Which comes from you know sheep from cows things like that
Garlic: One of The Best Mediterranean Foods
Now I want to talk garlic. We use tons of garlic in a Mediterranean cuisine. Okay we use a lot of garlic in the Eastern and western world too. But the difference is how we use it. A lot of the Mediterranean cultures will not only cook with it but they’ll use fresh unadulterated garlic. They’ll chop it up they’ll let it sit for a minute. They’ll just throw it into a salad or a salad dressing. You’re getting this fresh unadulterated garlic that has the potent antioxidants. The potent antibacterial that we know the allicin which is in garlic.
So with very powerful properties there they use it everywhere. And obviously because of its known attributes it just makes sense. So I would recommend starting to use it in raw form a little bit more. Just cut it up let it sit for 15 minutes so that it can actually activate the enzymes.
Stabilize Your Blood Sugar with Diverse Whole Grains
Last thing that’s very important that we cover in the best Mediterranean foods is the diverse amount of grains. The Mediterranean diet grains are generally not super high in gluten. There are also a lot of non-gluten grains and also a lot of very low glycemic starches. For example my favorite one is chickpea, I consume a ton of chickpeas. So chickpea pasta, chickpea flour, chickpeas. There’s a study that’s published in the American journal of clinical nutrition. That demonstrates that just consuming a hundred grams of chickpeas per day for 12 weeks could elicit a very powerful effect on blood sugar stabilization.
Okay so that’s a pretty significant change. And that’s the reason they are considered one of the best Mediterranean foods.