Understanding Mediterranean Diet- Benefits, Myths and Recipes

The Mediterranean diet, as the name suggests, is about the type of foods consumed by people living around the Mediterranean Sea in countries like France, Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, Southern Italy, and Spain.  This customized diet drastically reduced the cases of prevailing obesity and heart issues in many places. Here, we’ll try to understand the Mediterranean diet, its benefits, myths, and recipes.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet recommends all that body needs like carbohydrates for energy, healthy fats for upgrading cell membranes, protein for muscle building, natural fibers for the better digestive system, and vitamins & minerals for the growth of mind & body. This diet emphasis is on fewer carbs, as today people are leading a more sedentary life.

Benefits of Mediterranean food plan

  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Controls Alzheimer’s
  • Fights cancer
  • Decreases inflammation and metabolic syndrome
  • Improves cognitive behavior
  • Decreases type II diabetes
  • Regulates blood pressure and increases the life span

Dos of the Mediterranean Diet

Choose and include the following in your diet plan:

Vegetables: Green beans, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, asparagus, zucchini, bell pepper, pumpkin, bottle gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd, okra, eggplant, radish, turnip, beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, potato with peel, radish, etc.

Fruits and vegetables are major part of Mediterranean food.
Fruits:

Papaya, Grapes, grapefruit, apple, lime, lemon, orange, plum, pear, peach, figs, blueberry, strawberry, star-fruit, green apple, watermelon, and muskmelon.

Protein-Pack:

Fishes, prawn, crab, squid, mussels, skinless chicken breast, eggs, a moderate quantity of beef & pork, also beans, lentils, and legumes.

Beverages:

Coconut water, freshly extracted fruit juice & vegetable juice, buttermilk, green tea, herbal tea, and black coffee.

Don’ts of Mediterranean Diet

Interestingly, Mediterranean foods strictly prohibit sugar but suggest a moderate quantity of Red Meats and dairy products once in a while.

  • Red Meat is shunned from the diet plan as it encourages Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems. This despite being a good source of protein and vitamins, it has overpowering fat contents and calories that increase body weight and cause all sorts of health problems.
  • Excess sugar in food invites extra insulin in the bloodstream that could affect your arteries, circulatory system, and blood thickening. Its impact causes changes in the thickness of the arteries walls, damaging the cardiovascular system and enhances obesity.



Myths of the Mediterranean diet

Here are some of the major apprehensions about this diet.

The Mediterranean diet only works in the Mediterranean area:

It’s a myth, as the Mediterranean diet can be consumed by anybody and in all the regions of the world. There are certain foods available only in Mediterranean area. However, those can be substituted as per availability of other foods with similar nutrients in other geographical areas.

Mediterranean type of diet comprises only Pizza, Pasta, and Cheese:

Mediterranean diet has more diversity in veggies, pulses, and fruits. Although, today most of those foods are available everywhere in the world.

Mediterranean food is high in fat:

Recommended fat content from foods in the Mediterranean diet are healthier for the heart. Mediterranean diet includes fish, nuts, and olive oil that are low in saturated fat. In comparison, Mediterranean food is devoid of red meat, a big source of unhealthy fat.

The Mediterranean food plan isn’t easy to practice:

It’s a myth, as following Mediterranean food plan is easier. However, it may be difficult for those who find it hard to shun their age-old habit of indulging in the wrong kind of food. You must prefer to cook at home to get accustomed to the new diet plan.

Recipes:

Breakfast: Mediterranean Vegetable Frittata-

A savory combination of tomatoes, basil, bananas, peanut butter, apples, cinnamon, strawberries, and cream cooked with two to four eggs batter make for a healthy breakfast. Enhance its taste by sprinkling fresh oregano leaves and crumbled feta.

Lunch: Mediterranean Salad-

Typical Mediterranean ingredients in aromatic salad look and taste wonderful. Throw ingredients in a bowl including virgin olive oil, cut onions & tomatoes, low-fat feta cheese, dark leafy greens, and beans. Toss them well and eat a hearty lunch.

Dinner: Mediterranean Baked Fish Recipe with Tomatoes and Capers-

This Mediterranean fish recipe is mouthwatering and healthy. This Mediterranean baked fish is baked with simple sauce with tomatoes and capers. Give it 35 minutes to bake and enjoy a delicious, healthy low-carb and low-calorie food.

Recipe links:

  1. https://greatist.com/eat/mediterranean-diet-recipes-for-beginners#Breakfast
  2. https://recipes.heart.org/en/recipes/mediterranean-salad
  3. https://recipes.heart.org/en/recipes/mediterranean-salad
  4. https://www.nutritionbycarrie.com/2017/09/mediterranean-diet-myths.htm

 

Interesting Tofu Recipes and Nutritional Value

Tofu- Nutritious and delicious

There are so many new food delicacies coming up today due to the high demand of people wanting to taste more variety in food. Tofu is one of the most demanded vegan items today but many non-vegetarian eat it with the same love for food! Tofu is believed to be found approx.2000 years ago and today there are various mouth-watering tofu recipes available all around the globe.

How to make Tofu?

Soy beans- the source of great nutrients for vegans
  • Soak 3 cups of dry soybean overnight in the fridge.
  • Remove the discolored beans and transfer some beans at a time to the blender with sufficient water. Blend.
  • Transfer the same to a large pot/pan. Now, add 12 cups of water to the processed beans.
  • Now, boil on low-medium flame for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Keep simmering and stirring frequently until the foam is formed, do not over boil.
  • Turn off the gas and strain the mixture; remove as much as milk as you can.
  • Place this soy milk on gas and heat up to 180 degrees; add 75ml lemon juice to the boiled soy milk.
  • Turn off the gas and stir gently for 5-10 minutes until the curd separates.
  • Thereafter, skim the curd into a mold, press a heavy object over it, and leave for 20-25 minutes. Your Tofu is ready!



Nutritional Value and Benefits of Tofu

  • Consuming per 100 grams of tofu will give you 52.47 g protein, 10.3 g carbohydrates, 7.2 g fiber, 477 mg calories.
  • It also gives you a small amount of Vitamins B, A, C, D, B12, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, folate, etc., at the same time.
  • It helps to reduce the level of bad cholesterol i.e. LDL in the body.
  • Regular consumption of tofu helps to maintain good cardiovascular health, brain health, prevent anemia.
  • Tofu contains isoflavones, which aids in managing the symptoms of menopause.
  • In addition, Tofu has anti-cancer properties, which help to reduce the risk of certain type of cancer such as lung, breast and prostate cancer.
  • It is rich in calcium hence help to prevent bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.

Tofu Firm

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Paneer versus Tofu

Paneer versus Tofu
Image credit: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-tofu-and-paneer
Sr.no. Nutrients Paneer Tofu
1 Calcium% 45% 25%
2 Calories per 100 grams 320 70
3 Calories gained from fat 220 35
4 Protein per 100 grams 20grms 8grams
5 Cholesterol per 100 grams 90mg 0mg

Interesting Tofu recipes

With so much to gain from this soybeans product, it is but natural to know how tofu can be included in the diet in interesting ways. Here are delicious tofu recipes to enjoy at home-

Tofu fried rice
Tofu recipes
Tofu fried rice is a mouth watering recipe full of nutrition.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms cooked rice
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200g stir fry baby vegetables
  • 100g green peas
  • 1tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 100g smoked tofu
  • Finely chopped ginger and garlic
  • 1 red chili, sliced

Method:

  1. In a non-stick pan, heat some oil and fry the cooked rice to 8-10 minutes until the rice is golden brown. Also, add chopped chili, garlic, and ginger to it.
  2. Mash the smoked tofu in a utensil.
  3. In another pan, add green peas and other baby vegetables and mix them well with tofu as well as soy sauce until it’s cooked properly. Cook till the time veggies are soft.
  4. Combine veggies and rice, give it a good mix and your tofu fried rice is ready to serve.
Vegan tofu scramble

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped red chili
  • Smoked paprika ½ tsp
  • 1tsp oregano
  • 225gram smoked tofu
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ finely chopped onion
  • Spinach (small quantity)
  • 2 slices toasted sourdough
  • ½ Diced courgette

Method:

  1. To make this tofu recipe heat some olive oil, add chili, garlic, and onions one by one, and cook them well. Add some seasoning.
  2. After 4-5 minutes, add cumin, paprika, and oregano, and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add spinach to this and stir till it softens.
  4. Add mashed tofu to the pan mixture while stirring gently. The final look will be similar to scrambled eggs.
  5. Serve Tofu scramble with toasted sourdough slices and enjoy.

Tofu Cookbook

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Chilli Tofu Ramen Noodles
Chilli Tofu Ramen- one of the very delicious tofu recipes

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams non-egg ramen noodles
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5grms shredded ginger
  • 1-2tsp garlic oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 finely chopped spring onions
  • ½ tsp sake/mirin (rice wine)
  • 2 red chilies
  • 1 sliced mushroom
  • A handful of bean sprouts
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1tsp dark soy sauce
  • A handful of winter greens(kale/spinach)
  • 150 grams marinated tofu, diced

Method: 

  1. In a large pot add sliced mushrooms, bean sprouts, garlic, ginger, mirin, red chili and add 2-liter water to it.
  2. Boil it for 30 minutes until all the veggies are cooked and the stock releases the fragrance.
  3. Turn off the gas and strain the mixture to a new pan. Remove ginger, garlic, and chilies from it and discard them.
  4. Blanch the wintergreens and bean sprouts and drain them well.
  5. Take four bowls and put boiled ramen noodles equally into it.
  6. Now divide the marinated tofu, bean sprouts and veggies into four sections and put into the four bowls.
  7. Pour adequate stock in all four bowls, add some soy sauce and garnish with spring onions.



Tofu tacos:
Tofu recipes
Delicious and nutritious Tofu Tacos!

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 corn tortillas
  • Salsa -1 cup
  • ½ finely chopped cabbage
  • 12 tsp lemon juice
  • 400-gram firm tofu
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 2tsp groundnut oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Dairy-free soy yogurt

Method:

  1. For this tofu recipe, add 1-2 tsp lemon juice and some cabbage to a bowl of salsa.
  2. Cut tofu into 8-10 cubes of 2cm each.
  3. Mix all the spices in groundnut oil and add the tofu-salsa mixture to it and stir well.
  4. Now, fry the tofu pieces for 2 minutes.
  5. Fill the mixture into warmed tortillas, squeeze some soy yogurt over it and serve it with any sauce of your choice.
Tofu soup

Ingredients:

  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 4-5grms shredded ginger
  • 1-liter vegetable stock
  • A handful of sesame seeds
  • 100gram smoked tofu
  • 1 sliced mushroom
  • 1 sliced kale
  • 4 shredded nori snack sheets

Method: 

  1. Heat the vegetable stock, add mushroom, ginger, garlic and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add kale to the stock and boil for next 2-4 minutes.
  3. Turn off the gas and discard garlic from the stock.
  4. In frying pan heat sesame oil and fry Tofu for 4-5 minutes until the Tofu turns golden brown and crispy. Turn off the flame.
  5. Put tofu into a deep soup bowl and add an adequate amount of vegetable stock mixture into the bowl.
  6. Garnish with nori sheets and sesame seeds.

With all the crucial information in your hand, do try the above Tofu Recipes to attain good health with Tofu!

References:

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-tofu-and-paneer
https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/vegetarian/best-ever-tofu-recipes/

Related post-

Nutrition diet for vegetarians

How Your Bad Habits Affect Your Health

How Your Bad Habits Affect Your Health

Between good health and bad health, stands a question, how your habits affect your health? Do habits play role in achieving great health or losing good health? The junk food you eat, erratic eating time, overeating are some of the things that affect adversely. Similarly, some habits like biting your nails, cracking fingers, and wrong sitting posture can cause multiple health issues. If you are not aware and wish to know more than read on how your bad habits affect your health:

Anytime junk Munching

A habit to munch the snacks always, whether hungry or not take the toll on the digestion system. The body becomes prone to heart diseases and diabetic conditions. One loses natural body urge of hunger and the body is inundated with the unhealthy elements. This habit will allow the body weight to be under check with extra sodium, unhealthy saturated fat, refined carbs, and sugar replaced by healthier contents of the real food of whole grains and veggies.

Being couch potato

Staying put at one place and doing nothing physically but watching television or doing other inactive activities is one bad habit. This way, one gets low energy level, develops the diabetic condition, cuts off socially, and causes loss of good physical health. The ‘no exercise’ state is supported by processed sugary food intake that hampers the body and mind. The general mood also remains way less than jovial.

couch potato

Nail Biting

Beyond the psychological quotient, nail-biting habit could be tangibly bad habit for the health. The bacteria reside below the tip of the nail; with the food, this enters the body to cause many kinds of health issues. The nail-biter may develop paronychia a pus-filled finger swelling, and redness around the fingers.

Nail Biting

Not brushing at night

Not brushing the teeth at night can cause issues such as cavities, inflamed gum, bad smell, and plaque that can cause teeth extinction. Not brushing your teeth may result in frequent visits to dentist for one or the other problem.




Sleeping with Smartphone

Giving your sleep time to Smartphone is not a smart habit as it takes away the relaxation time, which your body deserves. The habit makes your body tired and less energetic, which ultimately affects your health badly.

Sun-bath to spoil the skin

As they say, ‘excess of everything is bad’; same applies to the habit and fondness to acquire golden bronze body color by solar exposure. The elastic body fibers are destroyed by excessive sunbathing which leads to aging, wrinkles, blotches, freckles, and skin discoloration. In some cases, it can cause skin cancer too. One must take care with the application of right chemicals, and limited sun exposure.

Sun-bath

Bad Behavior

Is your bad behavior worse for the other person or yourself? Your unhappy style of living can cause high blood pressure and blood sugar reinforced by sugary food, instigates loss of control over your body. That interprets to the heart diseases if the short-fuse temperament style becomes your key behavior.

Bad Behavior

Other habits that affect your health adversely are skipping your breakfast, cracking the knuckles, sitting with your legs crossed, continuous hours on desktop, smoking and drinking alcohol. These habits may not have immediate effect but gradually such bad habits affect your health adversely. So, take care!

 

Reference:

https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/10-bad-habits-and-the-best-ways-to-quit-them/