MEDITERRANEAN DIET. “Mediterranean diet” A dietary pattern that is tradition, culture, leisure , socialization, balance .
A dietary pattern that is tradition, culture,
leisure, socialization, balance.
In humans, alimentation is not only a basic biological function but also a true cultural phenomenon.
And in this cultural context that can be called the Mediterranean diet. Mediterranean is all geographical environment and the habits and customs of the peoples bordering on the banks of the entire Mediterranean, Greece, Spain, southern France with Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East.
This dietary pattern that has become a real tradition, a tradition introduced in the customs of the people, so deeply roots to be able to resist quite well to the passing of centuries, and lately, even more strongly, overbearing the newcoming habits and the new models that seem much more modern and attractive.
It all started in 1945, more than 60 years ago, when the team of prof. Ancel Keys in the Cilento region (Campania) made a detailed study comparing the eating habits of the United States, Japan, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Holland and Finland. Were examined 12,000 people aged between 40-59 years, divided into 14 samples.
The study revealed that mortality from ischemic heart disease was substantially lower among populations located around the Mediterranean. Mortality in other populations was attributed to the diet that included a large proportion of saturated fats such as lard, butter, red meat, etc..
Since then, more and more studies have confirmed these results.
The Mediterranean diet is healthy because it is a dietary pattern that favours the right balance of caloric revenue and energetic expenses. It helps to prevent cancer, heart attack and heart disease, it keeps your cholesterol level under control, is rich in substances that inactivate free radial, prevents obesity, hypertension and most of the cases of diabetes.
On 17 November 2010, UNESCO included the Mediterranean diet among the oral and intangible heritage of humanity, accepting the proposal - in 2009 - by UNESCO Working Group of the Ministry of Agriculture. With this recognition, UNESCO declared the cultural value of this great heritage of all nations bordering on the shores of the Mediterranean.
The protagonists of the traditional Mediterranean diet are well known to all: we talk of extra virgin olive oil, pasta, bread, wine, vegetables, fruits and whole range of vegetables, among which stands out today the tomato.
The diet is abundant in vegetables and scarse in meat, especially red meats, sugar, butter and animal fats. It 'a healthy balanced diet and is considered worldwide the most complete and proper diet, the best example of healthy eating.
The Mediterranean diet can be considered as a model of food consumption in which they occupy a central role. Among these, in the first place are the grains with all their derivatives: pasta, bread, polenta and other less popular products. The prominent role that the grains have is linked with the Mediterranean habit that requires the constant presence of bread on the table, in all its many regional varieties, and the daily appearance of pasta as the first course, and as the main course of one of the two main meals. Another characteristic of the Mediterranean model is the frequent and significant presence of legumes, vegetables, fruit and vegetable fat especially with olive oil: all foods that give a large contribution are to integrate the quality of protein provided by cereals and to balance the ration of lipids with appropriate amounts of unsaturated fatty acids, and finally, to provide a physiologically adequate amount of dietary fibres.
But the Mediterranean model also includes meats. Their importance, however, has declined, particularly with regard to beef, which is effectively replaced by alternative meats such as chicken, rabbit, lean pork, turkey and so on.
Worth of special consideration, among animal food is the consumption of fish and eggs, both privileged foods by contributing to high-quality protein or iron.
But perhaps the most important characteristic of typical Mediterranean foods is their adaptability to form unique dishes. Meaning that one single dish often ensures all those nutritional supplements that are normally provided in a two course meal.
The main dish, in fact, effectively and economically replaces the first and second course with a single dish. It is followed by the addition offresh vegetables and fruit to make a full meal, nutritionally balanced and less expensive.
Following the Mediterranean diet in
everyday life is simply to use
regularly typical food of the
Mediterranean tradition, and readily
available foods that can be prepared in
both simple and tasty ways that, in these
regions have always
been quite common to prepare food.
Tradition taken by best chefs ,includes
also special high-value gourmet recipes
on the international scene.
Here they are some advices:
• First, divide the daily food intake into several portions: in this way the food can be digested more easily and we can make better use of the nutrients contained in food. On the occasion of the two main meals, the table must be re-evaluated as a point of meeting and socializing.
• It is advisable to eat rations of pasta in the context of a balanced and adequate diet: it is important to highlight both the good nutritional value of this product : protein, iron, vitamins (B1, B2, PP) starch and its ability to form the backbone of a meal. It is important here to dispel the idea that pasta is a high-calorie food. It is instead the fat dressings, which are often added in excess, to make up the calories in a pasta dish. Pasta should be cooked “al dente” for optimal digestibility, better preservation of its nutritional value and a more prolonged sense of fullness.
• How to use condiments: should be avoided the use of excessive amounts of fat like butter, lard, margarine , bacon, cheese, cream, giving, however, the preference to the tomato sauce and olive oil.
• Bread made only with the basic ingredients should be given the preference, if possible, wholemeal, avoiding thus special breads with added fat or breadsticks and creackers.
• It 'should remember to focus frequently on meals made of those unique ingredients that are a feature of the Mediterranean diet, with the sole accompaniment of vegetables and fresh fruit.
• It 's important to use as a favourite condiment olive oil, which is a highly digestible fat, able to promote the digestion of fats, but to be used in small quantities due to its intense flavour.
• It should recur to alternative meats (chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey) instead of more expensive beef. They allow you to prepare varied and tasty meals also in compliance with the standards of practicality imposed by the rhythms of modern life.
• The need to eat fish regularly it should not be overlooked , and pay attention to oily fish (sardines, anchovies, mackerel, tuna ...). These fish are typical of the Mediterranean and their qualities are a delicious taste, high nutritional value, a favourable fat composition.
• It is usually recommended to complete the meal with fresh vegetables and fruit. Among the fruits and vegetables is good to incorporate foods rich in vitamin A (carrots, squash, spinach, beets, apricots, peppers, melons) with those rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli). It 's a good idea to cook the vegetables in the least possible amount of water, and then reuse it (such as stock) to avoid losing valuable nutrients.