Basic principles of the Mediterranean diet
Scientists have long drawn attention to the excellent health and longevity of the inhabitants of Italy, Spain and Greece. And the study of their diet led to the emergence of a nutritional system called the Mediterranean diet. What are its features and is it difficult to adhere to such a diet, we will tell further.
The Mediterranean diet is often referred to as one of the healthiest. The UN has even listed it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in seven countries. It is based on the diet of the inhabitants of Mediterranean countries, who ate what they grew themselves.
The main principles of this diet are: variety and measure. And an important advantage is the absence of contraindications. The menu is perfectly balanced, which means it can be used even in the nutrition of children and pregnant women.
Is there a secret? Of course. It is in the quality and the right combination of products. For example, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean eat a lot of vegetable fats and low-fat cheeses, which are combined with a lot of vegetables and fruits.
The food pyramid and frequency of consumption, schematically representing the Mediterranean diet, continued to be explored from the 1960s until 2008. In the last step, some herbs and spices were added to the food list, and the amount of seafood was slightly reduced.
Who is it suitable for?
First of all, to everyone who cares about their health. Numerous studies confirm that the Mediterranean diet is an excellent choice for those who are struggling with excess weight. Therefore, if you have tried almost all methods of losing weight, but suffer from constant restrictions on food, then this technique is what you need. You won’t have to starve with her.
And the diet is perfect for those who care about the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. Compliance with it reduces the likelihood of a heart attack by 30%.
Nutritional principles and staple foods
One of the foundations of the Mediterranean diet pyramid is grain and its derivatives. Pasta, rice, barley, couscous, and whole grain bread contain a small amount of fat and help to saturate the body with enough fiber, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. They also help lower the level of “bad” cholesterol.
Also, an important item on the menu are legumes, nuts and dairy products, which are recommended to be consumed 1-2 servings per day.
You should eat up to 5 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Vegetables can be eaten fresh or stewed or baked, alone or as salads with vegetable oil dressing.
Vegetables and fruits perfectly saturate, relieve hunger for a long time, and improve hydration. Plus, they do not contain fat.
And if you want to please yourself with a dessert, then have dried fruits and nuts in reserve. Fish and seafood will provide your daily protein intake, which can sometimes be replaced with white meat such as poultry or rabbit.
Potatoes, according to the Mediterranean diet, are allowed to be consumed no more than 3 times a week, and the consumption of sweets should be reduced to 2 times.
The last part of the pyramid is red meat, it is eaten at most once a week, in a portion of no more than 100 grams.
Extra virgin olive oil is worth mentioning. Residents of Mediterranean countries not only season salads with it, but also bake with it, use it instead of butter for sandwiches, adding aromatic herbs, and also prepare various sauces on its basis. In general, it is consumed about 6-8 times a day.
It is better to choose oil of the extra virgin category, it is most useful, because it contains a large amount of monounsaturated fats, which have an antioxidant effect.
It is important not to forget about the drinking regime, consuming 1.5-2 liters of clean water per day. And the inhabitants of the Mediterranean do not deny themselves the pleasure of enjoying 1-2 glasses of dry red wine a day.
The Mediterranean diet is not a restrictive system that leads to rapid weight loss. This is a menu that can be easily adapted to almost any national cuisine. You get a balanced set of foods that will help you smoothly transition to a healthy diet and lose those extra pounds without stress.