Dietary guidelines around the world recommend eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods to maintain good health.
Two popular diets, the flexitarian diet and Mediterranean diet, have gained popularity in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two diets to help you make an informed decision about which one might be better for you.
Flexitarian Diet: Benefits and Key Features
The flexitarian diet, also known as a “semi-vegetarian” diet, is a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods, while limiting meat and animal products. The goal is to achieve a vegetarian diet without completely eliminating meat. As the name suggests, this diet is flexible and allows for occasional meat consumption.
Adopting a flexitarian diet may result in many benefits, some of which include:
Health improvement: By eating a diet that has a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes it may be possible to reduce the risks associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Sustainable: Plant-based diets have a lower environmental impact than diets that rely heavily on animal products.
Economical: Plant-based foods are often cheaper than meat and dairy products, making the flexitarian diet an affordable option for many.
The flexitarian diet is primarily plant-based, and foods that are emphasized include:
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Plant-based proteins (e.g. tofu, tempeh, and seitan)
Meat, poultry, and fish are limited, but not entirely forbidden, in the flexitarian diet. The recommended amount for a flexitarian diet is five servings of protein per week, and the serving size should be no larger than the size of a deck of cards.
Mediterranean Diet: Benefits and Key Features
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional dietary patterns of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This diet emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats, while limiting processed foods and sweets.
Fueling your body with a Mediterranean diet may be the key to long-term health, from protecting yourself from chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, to pre-emptively staving off certain types of cancer.
Weight loss: Adopting a Mediterranean diet can also lead to weight loss or help maintain a healthy weight.
Promotes longevity: Many studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet may increase lifespan, providing a better quality of life well into old age.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on a variety of healthy foods, including:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Legumes and nuts
- Olive oil
The Mediterranean diet also includes moderate amounts of lean protein such as poultry, fish, and eggs, and limited amounts of red meat. Dairy products are not emphasized in the Mediterranean diet but there is the option to add moderate amounts like low-fat cheese, and Greek yogurt.
Flexitarian vs Mediterranean: Which One is Better for You?
Both the flexitarian and Mediterranean diets have unique features and benefits, but the choice between which best suits your lifestyle should be based on individual preferences and concerns.
Flexitarian Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Weight Loss
Both diets have been shown to aid in weight loss. However, the flexitarian diet may be more successful in weight management due to its greater emphasis on plant-based foods that are low in calories.
Flexitarian Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Sustainable
The flexitarian diet is a more sustainable option than the Mediterranean diet because it encourages reduced meat consumption.
Meat production has a serious impact on our planet, causing immense damage to the environment by contributing to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately climate change.
Thus, making the flexitarian diet an eco-friendly option.
Flexitarian Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Cost
The cost of both diets can vary depending on the location and food choices. However, the flexitarian diet may be a more cost-effective option as it mostly relies on plant-based foods that are generally less expensive than animal products.
Flexitarian Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Health Benefits
Both the Mediterranean and flexitarian diets have been associated with several health benefits, including lower risk of chronic diseases. Research shows that both diets are suitable for individuals with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Those looking to protect themselves from the potential of cardiovascular disease should consider incorporating aspects of the Mediterranean diet into their lifestyle, such as olive oil and salmon in order to enjoy its renowned health benefits.
Before choosing a diet, it is essential to consider the potential benefits, sustainability options, cost, and suitability based on individual health. While both diets have their unique features and benefits, it is essential to find the one that suits your lifestyle and health goals best. Ultimately, the adoption of a healthy diet and lifestyle should be based on individual preferences.
The Mediterranean and flexitarian diets are both excellent options that offer many health benefits, depending on your personal situation and goals. While the Mediterranean diet is known for its focus on healthy fats, the flexitarian diet may be better suited for individuals looking to reduce meat consumption and achieve weight loss. Ultimately, before committing to a diet, it is important to consider the unique features and benefits of each one.
Whichever you choose, incorporating moderate amounts of physical activity into your routine will further maximize the potential health benefits these diets have to offer.
Before embarking on any dietary or lifestyle alterations, consulting a healthcare professional is highly recommended for the best results.
Making small dietary and lifestyle changes can help you achieve improved health, quality of life, and longevity.
If you’re looking to make a significant change in your lifestyle and diet, it’s best practice to consult with an expert first. Seeking professional medical advice can help ensure that the transition is successful and safe for your health- so be sure to get informed before taking action!