One of the foundations of modern cuisine came from the Mediterranean region. As the modern world we know today originated from the said region, their simplistic diet is now playing a huge role all over the world. Especially in a society that is becoming exposed and obsessed with processed and synthetic food, going back to basics might be the answer to our health worries.
Healthy foods are often associated with Mediterranean Diet and it is no doubt that natural therapies are present in every bite. This is also a wake-up call for people who indulge in unhealthy food and drinks. Most foods prepared use little or no amounts of bad cholesterol thus contributing to a healthier body.
What is Mediterranean Diet
Most people think that foods from different countries in Europe and Africa constitute to Mediterranean Diet. Online resources often link this to Spanish, French, Italian and Greek cuisines. Technically, these are part of it, because they use ingredients that are often used in the Mediterranean way of eating.
Foods to Eat and the Food Pyramid
Mediterranean Diet consists of a food pyramid. This is a graphic representation of what foods to eat, and the quantities that should be taken. Note that it is an inverted pyramid and those at the bottom means it should be eaten at a greater frequency.
At the bottom are vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and whole grains. These foods contain antioxidants that are important in fighting diseases. It also prevents the increase of free radicals, which contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
Drinking wine is at the middle of fruit and vegetable section of the pyramid. If taken in moderation, wine contains antioxidants capable of curbing heart diseases. Because of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), it protects the heart’s artery against future damage.
At the second bottom is olive oil. Instead of butter which has significant amounts of unhealthy fat, use olive oil. Because of the absence of butter and margarine, people in the Mediterranean eat the lowest amount of trans fat. It is a bad form of fat that contributes to weight gain, lifestyle diseases and other forms of complications.
Fish and poultry are at the higher part of the pyramid. Eating these foods at least twice a week is advisable. Red meats is obviously a bad source of nutrients, if taken frequently and in large amounts. Fish and chicken have lesser amounts of saturated fats than most meat, including pork and beef. Salmon is a good source of health benefits because it has omega-3 fatty acids which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Though not in the pyramid, avoid salt and replace it with natural herbs and spices. Unlike salt, which is rich in sodium, herbs and spices contain nutrients that can alleviate diseases and fill nutritional imbalance.
Eating red meat is at the highest part of the pyramid. Cut red meat consumption of up to few times per month. Too much of a good thing can cause bad effects. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, eating high amounts of red meat is associated with having type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancers and coronary heart disease.
In films with Mediterranean settings, eating lunch or dinner is a social custom. This is also a part of the diet – enjoying healthy foods with family or friends may also improve the health. Drinking wine also expounds the celebration.
Statistically speaking, settlers in the Mediterranean region have lower obesity and overweight cases compared to other Europeans and Americans. This is because they eat slowly and enjoy their foods as a part of their lifestyle.
Everyone wants a life free from diseases and to achieve a physically-fit body. Dining on Mediterranean Diet has tons of natural therapies that allow your body becomes healthy inside out. Enjoy and celebrate life, because it is not just a mere diet plan – it is also a lifestyle.