Much has been made of how good is the Mediterranean diet for our health, but do you really know its exact benefits? Discover it with us!
When we talk about the Mediterranean diet, we mean the food shared by the different countries that are in the strip washed by the Mediterranean Sea, hence its name. They share climate, cultivation types and similar eating habits. But did you know that the Mediterranean diet was first analyzed by the Government of Greece in 1948? In fact, they were the ones who gave them its name.
Some time later, in 1958, in the so-called “Study of seven countries” different diets were compared. In addition, other habits such as lifestyle and coronary heart disease rates were analyzed. And also, it was concluded that the Mediterranean diet was one of the healthiest in the world.
There is no doubt that the country or region we live largely determines our eating habits and therefore our health. This is the case of the Mediterranean countries. And according to researchers, we have certain foods that we eat often and that are great for our body, but what are and what it do for us?
What does it consist of?
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, legumes, cheeses, nuts and cereals. This type of food, based on fresh products of proximity and natural origin, provides us with essential nutrients.
The foods present in the Mediterranean diet are especially rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, flavonoids, beta-carotene, polyphenols, and also in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Most of these nutrients are powerful antioxidants, necessary to combat cellular aging.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
The advantages of the Mediterranean diet have been analyzed in several scientific studies. One of the most recent, carried out by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of the Mediterranean Neurological Institute (Neuromed), demonstrates that it is a good food option for those over 65 because it contributes to healthy aging. Thus, the most important benefits of the Mediterranean diet are the following:
Helps to maintain heart health
Many of the foods that constitute the Mediterranean lifestyle have cardioprotective properties. In this regard, research published in the European Journal of Heart Failure highlights that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing heart failure by 31%.
Foods such as olive oil and nuts help lower cholesterol levels, because these are rich sources of monounsaturated fatty acids. Likewise, its content in omega 3 and omega 6 helps improve cardiovascular health.
Prevents obesity and overweight
As long as we take them moderately, nuts and olive oil do not get fat. On the contrary, it help us prevent problems such as overweight and obesity because, according to the PREDIMED study, those who follow a Mediterranean diet manage to lose weight and improve their health.
In addition, according to the authors of this work, the consumption of nuts – especially walnuts – in hypocaloric diets, could help you lose weight. One of the reasons is the effect of satiety that they produce, with quantities and suitable rules.
Helps regulate intestinal transit
The large amount of fruit and vegetables, at least 400 grams a day, excluding potatoes and other tubers, helps regulate intestinal transit and prevent occasional constipation. This is due to the daily contribution of dietary fiber and the consumption of whole grains, very beneficial for the normal functioning of the digestive system.
A Mediterranean diet with antioxidant effect
Many of the fruits and vegetables typical of the Mediterranean diet, such as pomegranate or carrot, are rich in antioxidants – for example, beta-carotenes – that protect the body from free radicals, causing numerous health problems.
It favors the quality of life
The Mediterranean life style consists of healthy customs, such as taking the necessary time to eat or a 15-20 minute nap, which have a positive effect on the quality of life, as it favors rest and disconnection in stressful situations.
The Mediterranean diet, something that we should be proud of, is a way of understanding food and life, using fresh and local products, enjoying nature and preserving good customs that do not put our health at risk.
Do you fancy a Mediterranean menu?
And, now, so that you can know in a practical way the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, we give you an example of a typical menu of this geographical region. You will see that they are simple, varied and completely healthy dishes. Ready to eat?
- Breakfast: Milk with whole grains and orange juice.
- Mid-morning: A coffee with milk and rice pancakes.
- Launch: cauliflower cream and mushroom soup and, second, grilled veal with plums and pine nuts. For dessert, an apple.
- Mid-afternoon: A glass of milk with mixed muesli and/or a tangerine.
- Dinner: Borage sauteed with chickpeas and, second, baked salmon with potatoes. For dessert, curd with nuts.
You know, take advantage of the benefits of our territory and make the most of the Mediterranean Diet. Watch your food and your health!