A hidden treasure: The Mediterranean diet
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- 15 Oct 2019
The Mediterranean diet is not only a set of food recommendations but also a way of life. This diet refers to a millenary culture tradition based on homemade food and food as a pretext for dialogue. In this lifestyle ingredients, techniques and recipes are combined with a physically active life favoured by the goodness of the climate. It is a way of life in which it is shared and celebrater around a table, where local and seasonal ingredients have prominence, where ingredients of plant origin abound and those from the animal are anecdotal. Recipes are used that have been passed from generation to generation and whose variants are found in the different countries of the region, each adapted to local resources. You could say that Mediterranean food is the antithesis of fast food. Even in Italy, a movement called “slow food” was born that claims this other form of food.
Doctors and nutritionists consider Mediterranean food as very healthy because it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The key to its benefits is the type of mono and polyunsaturated fats since these fats are beneficial for health. The balance between essential fatty acids, low animal proteins and the richness of fibre and antioxidants is also important. An essential ingredient is an olive oil because it is present in most of the gastronomy. Its daily consumption is recommended both raw in salads, as stewed. It is important how food is cooked since fried foods should not be abused.
At the base of the nutritional pyramid of the Mediterranean diet, local and seasonal foods predominate, along with an active way of life. On the next level, there are drinks, which will be our source of hydration and will be based on water and infusions. It is followed by vegetables, fruits, cereals and their derivates which must be present at each main meal. The importance of combining the colors of vegetables is highlighted, to provide a wide variety of phytonutrients. In the next two-level, there are those foods that should part our daily diets, such as nuts, seeds, spices, garlic, and onions. On the same level as the previous one, that is, consumables every day, there are also dairy derivatives. Of course, always preferably low fat. At the tip of the pyramid are foods that are consumed weekly, giving priority to fish, poultry, eggs, and legumes. Potatoes, red meat and sausages only occasionally. The sweets are also left only for special moments.
So important is the Mediterranean diet, which has received recognition from UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, allowing its protection, dissemination and transmission.