The beauty of the Mediterranean diet is that it is not a diet, but the principles of a balanced diet.As a rule, almost all diets imply severe restrictions, it is desirable that it be carried out under the supervision of a doctor and it has contraindications. The Mediterranean diet is suitable for everyone, including children, pregnant women and the elderly. Even if you are allergic or intolerant to certain foods, they are easily replaced by others. You will not be hungry and stressed. On the contrary, you will enjoy your food immensely. It is no wonder that the inhabitants of these regions are in excellent health and cheerful disposition.
The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle that allows you to stay in shape, rarely get sick, and prolong your youth. Thinking about adjusting your diet for adequate nutrition, study the principles of the Mediterranean diet.
In 2010, the Mediterranean diet received official UNESCO status as an intangible heritage of Mediterranean countries: Greece, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal.
If we go back to history, we can see that in the gastronomic culture of Ancient Greece, and after Ancient Rome, all the main components of this diet already existed. Lots of vegetables and fruits, seafood, oil, vegetables, limited amount of meat and sweets. In other words, vegetable foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, high quality proteins, healthy fats and slow carbohydrates. They activate the metabolism, improve digestion, strengthen all the body's functional systems, thanks to antioxidants, delay the aging process, increase the production of joy hormones, promote beauty and harmony. But the most important thing is that they always let themselves feel good, but vegetarianism in Mediterranean countries is not very common, whereas there are practically no dishes made with red meat, apart from excessively heavy ones.
Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health investigated the health effects of the Mediterranean diet and concluded that "the traditions of the Mediterranean diet, regular exercise and smoking cessation can prevent over 80% of coronary heart disease, 70% of strokes and 90% of the diabetes 2 "model.
The term itself emerged in the 50s of the twentieth century, was introduced by a physician, professor at the University of Minnesota Ansel Keys. In 1945, he landed in Italy with a group of American soldiers. Looking at the locals, Keys found that they were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems and had a longer life expectancy than in their homeland. He suggested, and then proved, that this is the result of a lifestyle and nutrition system. A little earlier, in the late 1930s, Italian nutritionist Lorenzo Piroddi related nutrition and susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes, obesity and bulimia, which is why he is called the "father" of the Mediterranean diet. And Ansel Keys stayed on the coast of Italy and lived to be 100 years old.
Let's list the pros of a Mediterranean diet.
Strengthens the cardiovascular system. The omega fatty acids in olive oil, nuts, seeds, certain types of vegetables and fruits keep blood vessels clean and elastic.
It prevents or treats diabetes as the diet is dominated by foods with a low glycemic index and almost no sugar is used, which means fast carbohydrates.
Fiber-rich foods are included in every meal, ensure a good metabolism, help to gently reduce weight and maintain positive dynamics over time, improve the state of the nervous system, improve mood and stimulate brain activity.
Many foods in the Mediterranean diet promote the synthesis of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and tryptophan, the so-called happiness hormones. This reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and dementia in old age.
Chatting with friends, long Sunday dinners with the family, picnics in nature, cooking together are part of the culture of Mediterranean countries, which it is useful to introduce into everyday life to minimize stress and anxiety levels and reinforce positivity.
Prolongs youth and beauty thanks to flavonoids and antioxidants. They reduce damage from the oxidative process, which worsens the internal and external condition. Selenium, manganese, zinc, vitamins A and E make the skin firm and hair shiny and thick.
There are virtually no downsides to the Mediterranean diet.
It helps you switch to proper nutrition and improve your health. It is not seasonal, has no time limit and a varied menu. Its only downside is its inability to lose weight quickly.
However, this actually becomes a positive point. Dramatic weight loss is often traumatic for the body: from a sudden change of regimen, a tangible loss of the usual daily caloric intake, we experience stress. The body responds with health problems, decreased strength, immunity and mood, chronic diseases worsen or new ones arise if the diet is not controlled.
Yes, for a while the weight goes away quickly, but the brain activates the protection mode against possible hunger, and even from low-calorie foods the body can store fat in reserve. Therefore, most of the time after the end of the diet, the weight returns, and sometimes even increases.<3_img_leftxx>
This will not happen with the Mediterranean diet. You won't see quick changes, but be patient. You will notice the first results in a few months. You should eat five times a day in small portions - so you don't feel hungry and the body will receive the full range of necessary nutrients. Gradually, a rational diet will restart the body's functional systems, metabolism will improve, and weight will return to normal. Add physical activity, at least long walks, and the effect will be noticeable.
The list of approved products is extensive. Nutritionists identified them in a pyramid based on (60%) sources of high quality complex carbohydrates, fats and vegetables. The former include whole grains, durum wheat noodles, whole grain bread, nuts and seeds, and pulses. Products from this group should be included on the menu every day.
Vegetables come in all varieties. Look especially for leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, and vegetables with a minimum of starch such as eggplant and zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and fennel. The WHO recommended daily vegetable intake - 6 servings per day - is based precisely on the amount of vegetables in the Mediterranean diet.
Previously, when there were no modern technologies for preserving vegetables, cooking was based on the principle of seasonality. Unfortunately, under our conditions, seasonal vegetables are a short-lived pleasure. There is a solution: use frozen vegetables. Unlike imported ones, freezing by shock, carried out in a matter of hours after harvesting at the peak of maturation, preserves almost all the vitamins in them. In winter and spring, the freshness of vegetables is a rather arbitrary concept. Manufacturers take into account the long haul and storage for which they treat them with chemicals.
Chickpeas, lentils and beans contain complete plant proteins, a complex rich in nutrients and fiber. They saturate well and create a feeling of fullness for a long time. Combined with leguminous vegetables, a wide variety of balanced meals can be prepared. Thick, rich soups will keep you warm in the cold, and salads are a great choice for dinner. Try eating vegetables for dinner two to three times a week.
Jasmine rice with chickpeas, mini broccoli, mini cauliflower and truffle oil
- Chickpeas (chickpeas) Bonduelle 1 can (310 g).
- Bonduelle mini broccoli 1 pack (300 g).
- Mini Bonduelle cauliflower 1 pack (300 g).
- Jasmine rice 200 g.
- Basil 40 g.
- 1 teaspoon curry
- Olive oil 20 ml.
- Salt to taste.
Pasta is fine if it's made with hard flour: it's low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, and easily digestible. In addition, pasta, like cereals, is one of the main sources of B vitamins. Pasta made with unrefined flour gives the body energy, for example, it is recommended to eat it before physical activity.
Of course, all benefits can be voided if you accompany the dish with a fat sauce or serve as a side dish with meat - such service has nothing to do with Mediterranean traditions. Light sauces based on olive oil, vegetables, fish and seafood are the right choice for pasta.
Spaghetti with mini broccoli and pine nuts
- Broccoli pack (300 g).
- Spaghetti 250 g.
- Pine nuts 40 g.
- Olive oil 20 ml.
- 100 g ricotta.
- Salt to taste.
Olive oil, the alpha and omega of the Mediterranean diet, is the gastronomic symbol of this region. Olives started being consumed here thousands of years ago. Untreated, they have a very bitter taste, so they have been salted or squeezed out of the oil.
The reason for this is the substance oleuropein, a phenolic compound that, together with omega fatty acids and vitamin E, determines the benefits of olives. Phenols are powerful antioxidants, have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and fight against free radicals. Scientists have found that 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil a day significantly reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
I met a mention of vitamin F, don't be surprised. Many people don't know that essential fatty acids have a common name - vitamin F. Those are archidonic, linoleic and linolenic acids. The human body does not produce them and only receives them with food.
But remember that not all olive oil is created equal. The best is extra vergin, a cold-pressed oil produced by mechanical means. Its acidity, that is, the content of organic acids, does not exceed 0. 8%. During the production process, this oil fully retains vitamins and antioxidants and must be stored in dark glass bottles at room temperature. It must not be heat treated.
Add olives anywhere: in salads, soups, main courses, pies, toast or an omelet. Olives have a salty taste, with them the dishes do not require additional salting, which reduces the amount of salt consumed. Look for inspiration in our selection of olive recipes.
The second step of the pyramid is the sources of the correct protein, which is 30% in the Mediterranean diet. Part of the body gets protein from vegetable foods, most from fish and seafood, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses (cheese made from goat's and sheep's milk are especially popular), white meat (chicken, turkey , rabbit) and eggs. Foods in this group should be eaten three to four times a week.
Fish should be eaten not only on Thursdays, as per the Book of Tasty and Healthy Eating, but several times a week. If you choose between river and sea, choose the second, and the more fatty varieties. With it, you will receive not only proteins, but also omega 3 acids, iodine, rarely found in food, and an excellent complex of vitamins: A, E, D, C, B vitamins. Dense structure of muscle fibers. Therefore, they begin to be digested immediately, which makes fish an ideal dietary product.
Talking about fish often leads to complaints that it is expensive and that it is almost impossible to buy good fish. Let's clear up these interesting questions.
In fact, few people are able to buy freshly caught fish. In this case, as with vegetables, don't be afraid to freeze deeply. Respect the thawing rules: on the bottom shelf of the fridge, this will take 10-12 hours and will retain all nutrients. Again, as with vegetables, when buying make sure there are no ice crystals in the package. These are evidences that the fish was stored incorrectly: the temperature regime was not observed. Also do not freeze the fish.
Fish in all countries is an expensive product, but there is also a way out here. You can't buy salmon or tuna fillets, buy more affordable varieties: cod, mackerel, pink salmon, herring, halibut, halibut, saury, sardines. In principle, in Mediterranean countries, most families cook these types of fish, the dishes with them are very tasty and varied. Many people ignore canned tuna, but to no avail: it's much more budget-friendly than fresh and as healthy as if it's made not in oil but in its own juice. Cooking salads with it is a pleasure: you don't have to worry about cutting.
Cod fillet with corn
- Young corn Bonduelle 1/3 can (140 g).
- Cod fillet 200 g.
- Radish 2 pcs.
- Cherry tomatoes 5 pcs.
- 2 pinch lemon zest.
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Any vegetables to taste.
- Arugula to serve.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
The same goes for seafood: we're not going to look for lobsters, oysters and lobsters, but we're going to take a closer look at mussels and shrimp. Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Magnesium - This is not a complete list of the minerals they contain, other than the low calorie content. Shrimp are rich in vitamin B12 - it participates in the production of hemoglobin, and in mussels - vitamin E, which protects cell membranes from destruction.
The last 10% includes red meat, which is recommended to eat at most once a week, animal fats and simple carbohydrates. Try cooking the meat gently - sauté or bake and fry on the grill without oil. Without desserts, life is deprived of sweet joy, but still opt for healthy desserts. Use a minimum of sugar, the natural sweetness of fruits, honey and even vegetables is enough. For example, young corn is sweet in itself, desserts with it are delicious and original, and you can also eat it straight out of the can.
Fruit salad with young corn
- Can of young corn Bonduelle 1 (340 g).
- Blueberries 70g.
- Strawberry 70g.
- Raspberry 70g.
- Orange 1 piece.
- Walnut 80 g.
- Natural yogurt 400 ml.
Finally, a few words about spice.
The aromas of the sunny heat and Mediterranean gardens are contained in rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram. Parsley and garlic are the simplest and most affordable spices used by chefs in the region for centuries. A mix of allspice, Provencal or Italian herbs will give the dishes an interesting meaning and nuance. Also, they will allow you to use less salt - the spice shine is enough for a full flavour.
There are practically no prohibited foods in the Mediterranean diet and its list coincides with that of all nutritionists. This is fast food and any junk food, industrial semi-finished products, sauces, candy with preservatives and flavor enhancers.
Drink lots of water, don't neglect a glass of dry red wine (but not anymore! ) and be healthy!