Mediterranean Gluten-Free Diet: Benefits In [AU] 2023
Are you interested in following a Mediterranean gluten-free diet? If you need to follow a gluten-free diet, then it is still possible to also follow a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is not automatically gluten-free; however, easy modifications can be made to adhere to a gluten-free diet.
Gluten-free and Mediterranean diets both have wonderful benefits. If you follow both diets, then you can enjoy the benefits of both. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and limits of the gluten-free Mediterranean diet.
What Is The Mediterranean And Gluten-Free Diet?
The Mediterranean diet can be made gluten-free by avoiding any grains such as wheat, rye, and barley since they contain gluten. Overall, the Mediterranean diet has many gluten-free food options. Minor substitutions can be made so that the diet is gluten-free.
How To Combine Gluten-Free And Mediterranean Diet
If you want to combine a gluten-free and Mediterranean diet, you will see that they already have many overlapping foods. You may need to make a few swaps, but you should not have too much difficulty following both.
The Mediterranean diet is not a clearly defined group of foods. The diet is based on the foods commonly consumed in the Mediterranean region. However, the Mediterranean region consists of 18 countries. All of these countries have slightly different diets. Thus, the Mediterranean diet typically refers to the common patterns in all these countries.
Most of the food included in the Mediterranean diet is already gluten-free. Thus, if you already follow a Mediterranean diet, then combining the gluten-free diet will only involve minor changes. However, if you follow a gluten-free diet where you consume many processed foods, combining the two diets may involve significant changes to your current eating.
The Mediterranean diet mainly focuses on eating fresh foods and limiting heavily processed foods. More specifically, the Mediterranean diet promotes:
- Eating mostly plant-based foods.
- Eating high-quality, healthy fats (particularly olive oil).
- Limiting consumption of dairy products.
- Limiting alcohol to red wine in moderation.
- Avoiding red meat and eggs.
- Avoiding added sugars.
Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Gluten-Free Diet
There are many potential health benefits of following a gluten-free Mediterranean diet. For example, researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet decreased the risk of heart disease significantly more than following a low-fat diet. The American Heart Association even recommends the Mediterranean diet for its heart health benefits.
Another benefit could be reduced risk of hypertension. One study determined that adopting the Mediterranean diet for at least one full year reduced blood pressure levels in people with hypertension and in people with healthy blood pressure levels.
Additionally, research indicates that individuals that follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The reason for this is not entirely clear, but the effect may be related to the high amount of antioxidants in the diet.
Following a Mediterranean diet also seems to have benefits for the brain. Research indicates that individuals who follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and overall better cognitive functioning.
There are many benefits to the Mediterranean diet; however, if you have an autoimmune disorder like celiac disease, then following a gluten-free diet is critical for your health. If you do not have celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet may or may not benefit you. You may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, where removing gluten ameliorates your digestive symptoms.
Gluten-Free Foods That Are Part Of The Mediterranean Diet
Many naturally gluten-free foods are included in the Mediterranean diet. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. The Mediterranean diet pyramid typically includes these three foods; however, many other foods within the Mediterranean diet are gluten-free.
Since the Mediterranean diet is focused on eating fresh, whole foods, you will likely make many of your meals yourself. Making your own meals is a great way to ensure your food is gluten-free.
Here is a list of foods commonly eaten on the Mediterranean diet that are also gluten-free:
- Vegetables. The Mediterranean diet typically
- includes three to five servings of vegetables daily. Common vegetables in the Mediterranean diet include arugula, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, carrots, onions, broccoli, eggplant, and kale.
- Healthy Fats. The Mediterranean diet heavily emphasizes healthy fats from foods like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados over butter or margarine. Healthy fats typically make up 30-40% of the Mediterranean diet.
- Proteins. The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based and low-fat animal-based protein sources such as poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Avoid heavily processed proteins like cured meats and protein powders that contain gluten, which must be on the label.
- Whole grains. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains over processed grains. Gluten-free grains common in the Mediterranean diet include oats, brown rice, corn, and buckwheat. And there is gluten-free pasta to choose from.
- Fruits. The Mediterranean diet typically utilizes fruits as a dessert. Common fruits in the Mediterranean diet include figs, dates, apricots, olives, peaches, pomegranates, apples, cherries, and pears.
As you can see, many foods included in the Mediterranean diet are gluten-free. The only foods you may need to avoid are wheat flour, rye, or barley. However, many foods in a gluten-free diet do not fit into the Mediterranean diet. You would need to avoid heavily processed and high-sugar gluten-free foods.
Gluten-Free Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan
Finding a Mediterranean diet with gluten-free recipes can be difficult. Here is a sample gluten-free Mediterranean diet meal plan. You can swap foods that you do not like for other foods that are gluten-free and adhere to the Mediterranean diet. If you do not want to cook, another option could be ordering gluten-free meal delivery services that adhere to the Mediterranean diet.
- Breakfast: 1 Frittata with ¼ cup basil, ¼ cup spinach, and ¼ cup tomatoes. 8 ounces of fortified almond milk.
- Lunch: 8-ounce Mediterranean bowl with ½ cup quinoa, ¼ cup roasted sweet potato, ¼ cup red pepper, ¼ cup cucumber, and 1 cup lettuce. A 6-ounce cup of herbal tea.
- Dinner: 3 ounces grilled salmon with capers, ½ cup grilled zucchini, ½ cup corn, and red onion. An 8-ounce glass of skim milk.
- Breakfast: Smoothie with ½ cup Greek yogurt, 2 dates, 2 tbsp almond butter, ½ cup skim milk, and 1 tbsp flaxseed. 8 ounces of fortified almond milk.
- Lunch: Salad with ½ cup quinoa, ¼ cup cucumbers, ¼ cup olives, ¼ cup feta, and 4 ounces grilled chicken. A 6-ounce cup of herbal tea.
- Dinner: 1 ½ cups lentil soup with ¼ cup tomatoes, ¼ cup kale, and topped with dill. An 8-ounce glass of skim milk.
- Breakfast: 2 slices gluten-free toast with ¼ cup ricotta cheese, ¼ cup sauteed mushrooms, and topped with dill. 8 ounces of fortified almond milk.
- Lunch: 1 gluten-free buckwheat pita stuffed with ½ cup roasted sweet potato, ¼ cup red pepper, lettuce, and ½ cup cucumber. A 6-ounce cup of herbal tea.
- Dinner: ½ cup quinoa and ¼ cup chickpea stuffed bell peppers topped with 1-ounce feta and parsley. An 8-ounce glass of skim milk.
- Breakfast: ½ cup Greek yogurt parfait with 1 tbsp honey drizzle, 2 ounces nuts, and topped with fresh mint. 8 ounces of fortified almond milk.
- Lunch: Salad with ½ cup quinoa, ¼ cup cucumbers, ¼ cup olives, 1-ounce feta, and 3 ounces of grilled chicken. A 6-ounce cup of herbal tea.
- Dinner: 1 ½ cup Tuscan white bean soup with ½ cup spinach, ¼ cup tomatoes, and topped with fennel. An 8-ounce glass of skim milk.
- Breakfast: ½ cup overnight oats with 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and ½ cup almond milk. 8 ounces of fortified almond milk.
- Lunch: Gluten-free tabbouleh made with ½ cup quinoa, ¼ cup tomatoes, ¼ cup cucumbers, and topped with parsley. A 6-ounce cup of herbal tea.
- Dinner: 3 ounces grilled shrimp with ¼ cup cucumber, ¼ cup feta, and ¼ cup olive Greek salad. 5-6 ounces red wine.
Tips To Make The Gluten-Free Mediterranean Diet Healthier
Eating out is an important social activity for many people. Still, sometimes it is hard to find healthy meals when eating out. You can always order something that will fit your gluten-free Mediterranean diet by asking your server about how the food is made. You may need to ask for accommodations, but many restaurants will be happy to help you.
Additionally, getting a personalized vitamin mix could be a good way to ensure you get all the nutrients you need daily. Personalized multivitamins allow you to fill in any nutritional gaps that you may have from following a specific diet.
The Bottom Line
When you clicked on this article, you may have wondered:” Is the Mediterranean diet gluten-free?” Now you know that the Mediterranean diet is not inherently gluten-free but can be easily adapted to work for someone following a gluten-free diet. That way, people who must follow a gluten-free diet can still experience all the benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The Mediterranean has many great snack options, such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits. Celery and carrot sticks with hummus is a great example of a gluten-free snack that sticks to the Mediterranean diet.
You can eat many foods following a gluten-free Mediterranean diet. You will stay on track if you focus on vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, and gluten-free whole grains.
Yes, but the Mediterranean diet encourages limiting your alcohol to one or two glasses of wine paired with a meal. Additionally, you must remember that some alcoholic beverages, such as beer, contain gluten.
The Mediterranean diet suggests eating red meat very sparingly. It will be gluten-free if you do not add any gluten-containing ingredients to your steak. So save your steak for special occasions on this diet.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in most vitamins and minerals; however, including a multivitamin in your daily routine is advisable. That way, you can be sure you get all the necessary vitamins daily.
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