The Mediterranean diet is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This diet is characterized by a combination of different foods: olive oil as m fat, green leaves, vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, cheeses and yogurt, fish, bread and wheat derivatives, and moderate consumption of wine and meat.
The Mediterranean dietary pattern that comes from the interaction between peoples for centuries is also related to regular physical activity. This evidence shows the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet on health.
Mediterranean diet is not only a way of eating, but it is also a way of providing the body with nutrients that are essential in its proper development. When we submit to the Mediterranean Diet, we can be sure that our diet is healthy but also beneficial in many aspects.
The diet is characterized by including fruits and vegetables typical of the European Mediterranean area, such as bread and cereals made with wheat, olive oil, vinegar, and wines in moderate quantities.
Important data on the origin of the Mediterranean Diet
In 1948 the American epidemiologist Leland G. Allbaugh, conducted the study of the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Greek island of Crete to make a comparison between it and the lifestyle of the Americans.
Later, Dr. Ancel Keys, also an American, disseminated Allbaugh’s comparisons, making many people interested in the Mediterranean Diet for being healthy and nutritious, mainly because this diet brings significant benefits to people with coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, among other chronic diseases.
Show me the Mediterranean Diet: Importance of healthy fats
Although fat intake is very high, they are unsaturated fats and are not a harmful factor, because they are part of healthy fats, with benefits for cardiovascular health.
Olive oil and bluefish are foods rich in healthy fatty acids, such as omega 3 present in bluefish and in monounsaturated acid olive oil, which reduces levels of harmful blood cholesterol. Moderate consumption of red wine has also shown benefits for cardiovascular health.
The Mediterranean Diet as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO
The Mediterranean diet has been registered since 2013 in Representative List as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO, due to the way of cultivating, collecting, and preparing Mediterranean food.
Drinking a glass of wine daily is good for your health
The British Medical Journal and other expert scientists have shown that having a daily glass of wine brings multiple benefits to our health and even prevents deaths. Thanks to its high polyphenol content, red wine eliminates free radicals and protects the heart. The Mediterranean diet encourages moderate wine consumption, a glass of wine a day will be enough.
According to scientific evidence, the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for people with diabetes, as it improves their state of cardiovascular health. In an article published in the American Journal of Medicine, it states that it can reduce harmful health factors such as blood pressure and blood sugar and fat levels.
The high content of olive oil is the main characteristic of this diet. It has a direct effect on cardiovascular health due to its high content of oleic acid and substances such as phenolic compounds, which are very potent antioxidants.
The Mediterranean diet as support for cancer treatment
The Mediterranean diet has been recognized for its benefits to reduce the risk of developing cancer, especially in the digestive organs, such as pharyngeal, esophageal, gastric and colorectal cancer, it has also been seen that it could reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Show me the Mediterranean Diet: 5 key points to understand this lifestyle
- Vegetables, protagonists of Mediterranean foods
Vegetables and fruits are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and valuable vitamins. These nutrients can help us prevent cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
In a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet, vegetables should be one of the bases of our diet. If they represent approximately half of what we eat and have dinner, it is a good portion.
This diet encourages you to eat a good salad or some roasted vegetables, to stimulate satiety. Salads are light; they help us hydrate and eliminate fluids.
There are many vegetables with which to prepare salads and other varied dishes. Some options are:
You need to be careful with the extra ingredients because if you add cheese, tuna, corn, olives, or pasta in excess, they will stop being low-calorie dishes.
It is not necessary to restrict any food to follow a hypocaloric diet. At breakfast time, you can opt for a toast of whole wheat bread with tomato and olive oil, accompanied by some serrano ham, tuna, or a slice of cheese.
Avoid eating white bread, sugary cereals, cookies, or soluble cocoa. They usually carry large amounts of sugar and are unhealthy foods.
- Eggs, legumes, and fish as sources of protein
Fish, like eggs and legumes, are healthy sources of protein. Therefore, it is strictly necessary to include them in this diet.
Accompany your vegetable salad with a good source of protein, such as bluefish, white fish, or eggs, because they contain high amounts of protein.
Protein-rich foods have a satiating effect that will leave us full for longer.
There are various recipes on how to cook Mediterranean-style fish; you can try cooking in the oven, grilled or steamed, and season them with spices or fresh herbs to give an extra touch of flavor. On the other hand, eggs can be boiled or scrambled.
- Fats, always present in the diet
Fats are one of the nutrients that provide more energy to our diet, but they are also an essential nutrient for the proper functioning of the body.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the healthiest fats we can find in this diet. Extra virgin olive oil will be the first choice for cooking and dressing Mediterranean dishes. You can make a delicious homemade vinaigrette with lemon or orange juice, vinegar, and fresh herbs.
Nuts provide healthy monounsaturated fats. Also, nuts provide a satiating effect and a good source of fiber, ideal for regulating our intestinal transit. It will be enough with a handful a day at breakfast or snack. They should be raw or roasted.
- Healthy and light foods also between meals
Fruit or vegetable sticks are ideal for calming the anxiety of eating between meals without breaking the diet.
Anticipating the situation and preparing something light is the best idea not to break the low-calorie Mediterranean diet. A piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, natural yogurt, or some vegetable sticks with hummus are the best possible choice.