A recent study, published in the Frontiers medical journal, found that eating a Mediterranean diet can improve all the markers of immune system health. This may be due to the main ingredients found in a Mediterranean lifestyle, naturally rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. If you’ve never tried a Mediterranean diet, or don’t know where to start, here’s how to begin.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet traces its roots to the everyday cuisine of Italians and Greeks in the 1900s. It’s been well-studied for its benefits to longevity, chronic disease, weight loss, and now immunity.
The diet’s approach is simple. In general, you eat a lot of vegetables, nuts, seeds, seafood and whole grains. If using oils and fats, it focuses on extra virgin olive oil. Some dairy and poultry is okay, but red meat is rarely if ever consumed.
Likewise, the Mediterranean diet avoids all added sugars, anything that’s been highly processed (including processed meats and refined grains), unhealthy fats like trans fats, and refined oils like canola oil.
Give it a Try With a Full Day of Mediterranean Diet Recipes:
1. Breakfast: Caprese Avocado Toast
Put a spin on classic avocado toast that’s so pretty, you’d impress the most accomplished Instagram foodie. You’ll start your day with whole grains (fiber helps enhance digestion) and healthy fats (the fats in avocado oil keep you feeling full and may help reduce chronic inflammation). It’s a great way to ease yourself into the Mediterranean diet.
2 slices of whole-grain bread, such as rye or peasant bread (if not homemade, ensure there’s no refined grains!)
1 medium avocado
A handful of cherry tomatoes
2 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (approximately a dozen)
4 large fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
Toast the bread. As you wait for your toast, scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash it up. Meanwhile, cut the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls into halves, and tear the basil leaves into little pieces.
Once your toast is done, smear the avocado on each piece of bread. Layer on a few tomatoes, a handful of mozzarella, and a sprinkling of basil. Drizzle the balsamic reduction on top and enjoy!
2. Lunch: Greek Lettuce Wraps
This meal is so flavorful, you won’t believe that it took you only 10 minutes to prep (no cooking involved!).
It’s the perfect lunch for home or office, and it’s so easy to whip up, you don’t have to worry about meal prep or very much cleanup.
The star in this meal is the tahini dressing, which tastes ultra-decadent and brings out the flavors of everything else.
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from two lemons (approximately ¼ cup of juice)
A pinch of salt and paprika
2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers, drained
12 large lettuce leaves
¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, salt and paprika. Then, toss in the chickpeas and peppers. Stir so all the ingredients are coated well, and let it marinate for a couple of minutes.
Take a lettuce leaf, fill it with the bean mixture (approximately a third of a cup per lettuce leaf), and sprinkle the almonds and parsley on top. Repeat for each lettuce leaf and enjoy right away, or store in your fridge (it should last a day or two).
3. Dinner: Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Orzo looks like rice, but it’s actually a type of Mediterranean pasta sometimes referred to as risoni. It’s incredibly versatile and has been used in Turkish, Spanish and Greek cuisine for centuries. Here, it will soak up all the flavors in this dish, from the vibrant herbs (high in antioxidants and bursting with flavor) to the Kalamata olives.
8 ounces whole-grain orzo (it’s important to check the ingredients, as some orzo is made with white flour)
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup red onion, minced
2 cups of diced cucumber
2 roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, halved
Make the orzo according to the instructions on its box. Every orzo brand is a little bit different, but in most cases, you’ll boil it for 3-5 minutes until chewy but still firm. Once it’s cooked, drain it in a colander under running tap water to cool it down and stop the cooking process.
While the orzo cooks, prep everything else. Toss the chickpeas with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and let it marinate while the orzo cooks.
Once the orzo is ready, pour it into a big mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
More Ways to Support Your Health
Your diet is just one piece in your immune system’s wellness puzzle. Thymic proteins are another piece. It is the job of these thymic proteins to train the body’s immune system to effectively seek and identify diseased cells. Unfortunately, your levels of thymic proteins drop as you age. BioPro-Plus 500 offers a full dose of thymic proteins to help restore your body’s natural levels. Maximize your health by combining a healthy diet with healthy supplements!
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