The Secrets of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating patterns proposed in the European countries of the Mediterranean basin (Italy, Southern France, Greece and Spain).

Curiously, this diet has been slightly abandoned during the economic boom of the sixties and seventies because it was considered too poor (too light).

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

I am from Italy so I love this topic and I have plenty to say regarding "eating well". Oh come on, everybody knows that Italy is famous for good food. Good and healthy.

That means no fast foods or sugary sodas, no greasy or deep fried foods either.

Who Invented the Mediterranean Diet?

Historically, in 1939, the first to perceive the connection between nutrition and metabolic diseases was the Italian nutritionist Lorenzo Piroddi.

Considered the father of this diet he is also author of the book Mediterranean Cuisine.

After some investigation they discovered that mortality from ischemic heart disease is much lower in Mediterranean populations than in other countries such as Finland, where the diet is generally rich in saturated fats.

The people who live in Mediterranean countries consume high amounts of fat but have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than the U.S. population.

The explanation is in the large amount of olive oil used in Mediterranean cuisine.

The Importance of Olive Oil in the Mediterranean Diet

Olive oil seems to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

According to the LYON study performed by the American Heart Association, the Mediterranean type of diet reduces mortality rate for coronary heart disease by 50%.

Cereals are a very important component of the Mediterranean type of diet. It is recommended to include in our diet, beside bread and pasta, also rice and other grains such as corn, barley, spelt, oats.

Legumes also have a fair amount of carbohydrates of slow absorption, but especially, when compared with other vegetables, a great presence of protein.

It 's very simple to combine portions of vegetables together with cereals: these provide the amino acids that are missing in legumes. Remember that legumes are rich in minerals, some vitamins and dietary fiber.

We must remember that it is appropriate to consume 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables as these foods create a sense of fullness in spite of a reduced caloric value.

Many fruits provide an important contribution of vitamin C.

And don't forget the benefits of daily consumption of dry fruit, that contains a little amount of protein, low sugar and a large proportion of good fats.

Read more on the Mediterranean meal plan

Are you wondering how it would be to eat Mediterranean for a whole week?

Read this Mediterranean diet menu example

 

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