Top 5 Reasons Why the Mediterranean Diet Rules

This blog post was originally posted on September 25, 2014, and was updated on October 30, 2017.

When you hear the words Mediterranean diet, what probably comes to mind is yet another trendy weight-loss fad that everyone is raving about.

But as heavily as the word diet sometimes weighs on our society (no pun intended), it doesn’t have to imply restrictions or guilty pleasures. The Mediterranean diet, for us, means all the glory that is eating in a Mediterranean country. Delicious, healthy and hearty are words that spring to mind! Read our reasons why we firmly believe that the Mediterranean diet rules all—with a special focus on Spanish cuisine, not that we’re biased or anything!

The Mediterranean diet includes lots of plant based foods, healthy fats and (for us, at least), plenty of wine! Read why the Mediterranean Diet rules all!

1. Plant-based Foods

Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains are a huge part of Mediterranean cuisine. This may sound obvious, like don’t we all eat lots of plant-based foods? Yes and no, or to put it more clearly, we should. Not to mention the low environmental impact of consuming them, they are also packed with antioxidants and healthy fats. You may think you eat lots of plant-based foods, but do you have fruit for dessert? Have you had chickpeas at least three times this week? Can we talk about the amount of bread people consume on a daily basis? Because it’s amazing.

A hidden gem in the bustling market is always our top recommendation on where to eat in la boqueria market! One trip there and you'll know why the Mediterranean diet is the best!
Chickpeas are a huge part of the Catalan diet! Photo Credit: Miss YYC

2. Five Meals a Day

For newbies in Spain, it may seem like Spaniards spend the whole day eating or drinking, which is slightly true. There are five well-defined meals a day, and what in English we might call snacks for anything in-between breakfast, lunch and dinner actually have their own name and designated time and are respected by a large majority of the population. Roughly translated, these are breakfast, breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. And this doesn’t even include la hora del vermut! Whether you’re a health nut or you just love eating, frequent meals are highly recommended. Want to know a little bit more about vermouth? Watch the video below to find out how to enjoy it like a local.

 

3. Fish

When you’re roaming the concrete jungle of Madrid’s city center, it’s easy to forget that you’re smack dab in the middle of a peninsula, surrounded by water. However, with the nearest coast (Valencia) a four-hour drive away, you wouldn’t really expect it to be a particularly seafood-faring city. But nonetheless, Madrid has some of the best seafood around, and it isn’t even on the coast! Perhaps it wasn’t always like this, but nowadays freshly-caught fish and seafood land on the table quicker than you can say calamares en su tinta. And of course, if you are lucky enough to be here in Barcelona or elsewhere on the coast, from fideua to sarninadas to tortillitas de camarones, there are dozens of delicious and fresh seafood dishes that will make your mouth water. And we won’t even go into the health benefits of eating them.

Mediterranean countries eat loads of fish, and we can't even begin to define all the health benefits of that!
The fish market—a sensory experience for sure!

4. Cheap Wine

Of the many things Spain does right, one of them is making high-quality products that are accessible to all. You can find a great selection of budget wines in your local grocery store or bodega, and you can be sure that there was a lot of love gone into making them. For a real bang for your buck, you can even take your own bottle to fill from a barrel at the bodegas—keep in mind that it’s usually simple table wine, but it’s also much cheaper than buying a branded bottle.

Wine in Spain: cheap, delicious and plentiful! We love how great wine is accessible to all...key for a good Spanish Mediterranean diet!
Great and affordable wine is one of the reasons we love this country!

5. Olives

Can we just take a moment to confess our love for the olive? With over 260 varieties of olives and producing 43% of the world’s olive oil, you shouldn’t be surprised that olives are on our list. Who knew that such deliciousness could be packed into a tiny little fruit? And extra virgin olive oil? Practically fresh-squeezed olive juice, they say it’s liquid gold and that’s no exaggeration. We learn all about the world of olive oil while tasting some on our Gracia Neighborhood Food Tour. Not only is it delicious but it’s also so, so good for you.

Spain is the biggest producer of olives and olive oil in the world! It's no wonder they are such a staple to the Mediterranean diet.
Olive skewers at a market in Barcelona—delicious! One of the tastiest and smallest pieces in the Mediterranean diet!

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