Mediterranean Diet is a way of living which involves all aspects of living: food, drinks, exercising and socializing. When we mention food we all understand what we mean by Mediterranean foods and Mediterranean cuisine. However, when we mention Mediterranean Drinks some people may not understand what this category may include and for this reason we will try to list a number of Mediterranean Drinks so that we will give a broad understanding of this category.
What kind of drinks go under the Mediterranean Drinks category? We will try to list the various traditional and non-traditional Mediterranean drinks so that we will provide you with the broader picture of the Mediterranean diet.
Water: Water is the most important drink of the Mediterranean diet. It is usually recommended that each person should have at least 8 glasses of water; the Mediterranean people believe that each person should take at least 6 glasses of water per day. Water accompanies every Mediterranean meal and it is part of the Mediterranean culture to have water on the table with every meal. Water usually accompanies every dessert and it most certainly accompanies coffee like the Greek or Turkish or Lebanese coffee.
Orange Juice: Orange juice usually accompanies the Mediterranean diet breakfast but it can be consumed at any instance and at every occasion. Oranges are produced in abundance in the Mediterranean region since the climate is suitable for their growth and they are consumed in many different ways: as a fruit, as a juice, in foods, in desserts and sweets. Oranges are rich in Vitamin C. One glass of orange juice has 39 calories and will provide 71% of our daily needs in Vitamin C. We should always have in mind that we should consume a fresh orange juice immediately or with a maximum of 20 minutes from the time it is squeezed since some of its beneficial nutrients are lost or dissipated after a period of exposure to the air. So have this in mind when you squeeze oranges for a fresh orange juice with your Mediterranean diet breakfast.
Pomegranate Juice: Mediterranean Diet is rich in fruits and vegetables and their consumption is not limited to just the fruits but the fruits can be turned into juices. One juice which is very popular in the Mediterranean basin is the pomegranate juice. Pomegranate is used in the Mediterranean cuisine and the pomegranate juice is served during lunch or dinner and it is not only refreshing during the summer days but it is also very beneficial for our health. Pomegranate juice is very popular in Turkey and the Arab countries of the Mediterranean Sea and you can find it in every corner of big towns. Pomegranate juice is rich in vitamin C, Potassium, is rich in dietary fiber and it contains antioxidants keeping our body healthy and full of energy.
Lemonade: Lemon is another fruit of the citrus family which is full vitamins and is used for cooking and as an additive to foods. Its juice cannot be drunk by most people as a freshly squeezed juice and for this reason the locals, the Mediterranean people, have found a way to enjoy it by producing lemonade. Lemonade is a drink which can be found in all of the Mediterranean countries and because it can be preserved for a long period it is can be enjoyed throughout the year, especially during the long summer months. Lemonade is served in every Mediterranean house cold with the addition of a mint leaf if you want to add a special refreshing taste.
Ayran: Ayran is a cold drink made from yogurt with the addition of salt. It is a drink which is very popular in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Cyprus and Greece. It is considered to be the national drink of Turkey and it is best drunk during the hot summer months as an accompaniment of Mediterranean lunch or dinner. It is very easy to make Ayran at home and if you have never drunk it we recommend you try it during the summer and you will love it. All you need to make it is yogurt, salt and some leafs of chopped mint, preferably dried mint. We need not to remind you that yogurt and especially Greek Yogurt is part of the Mediterranean diet.
Sahlep or Salep or Sahlap: Sahlep is a hot drink which is drunk in the Mediterranean region occupied by the Ottoman Empire. The drink is made by mixing Sahlep flour with hot water or milk. Sahlep flour is made from Orchids plants. It is a very tasty, traditional, warming and refreshing drink of the eastern Mediterranean region and it is known as the drink of Turkey.
Almond Drink, Soumada: This almond drink is a traditional Greek drink which is made from almonds, sweet and bitter. Soumada is usually served during happy occasions due to its white color and such occasions are the weddings. In some other regions of the Mediterranean, like Cyprus, Soumada is drunk warm providing the warmth and nice smell of almonds. This is another way to enjoy the healthy benefits of almonds.
Pepitada: Pepitada is a drink made from the roasted/toasted seeds of the melons. It has its own distinct taste and smell and it is a traditional drink among the Jewish communities of Greece since it is the drink which is used to break the Yom Kippur fast. It is a delicious drink, easy to make and its color and purity are the reasons it has been selected to be drunk during this very important Jewish holiday.
Tea: Tea is a drink enjoyed by many Mediterranean nations especially those nations which were part of the Ottoman Empire. Tea is a drink which needs no introduction and it is now considered to be a world drink rather than a Mediterranean drink since the British have spread it throughout the world.
Coffee: You will find many variations of coffee in the Mediterranean region. There is the French coffee, the Italian espresso or cappuccino, the Greek coffee, the Turkish coffee, the Lebanese coffee and the Egyptian coffee. The last four are variations of what was known as the Ottoman coffee. Coffee is drunk throughout the day and it is certainly part of the Mediterranean breakfast or a drink which is drunk after a nice lunch. It is served in the various traditional coffee shops of the Mediterranean and it is a drink offered to guests when they visit friends or relatives.
Wine: Wine is part of the Mediterranean diet. A glass of wine as part of lunch or dinner is recommended by many doctors and dieticians. The beneficial effects of wine have been recognized throughout the centuries by the ancient Greeks and later on by the Romans. A glass of red of wine with lunch or dinner is a must in certain countries like France, Italy and Greece. Wine helps our body fight certain types of cancer and has antioxidant properties.
Sangria: Sangria is a Spanish drink, consisting of wine, chopped fruits, sweetener and some brandy or cognac. It is a drink which has become popular all around the world and it combines the benefits of the wine and the fruits which are a major component of the Mediterranean diet.
The list of the Mediterranean drinks may go on and on, as the Mediterranean civilizations have been around for thousands of years and the Mediterranean diet has been their way of living of an equal period. Mediterranean drinks and foods form the Mediterranean cuisine and all are part of the Mediterranean diet.